Bangladesh to benefit from new UK trade-cum-aid focus

Bangla Tribune Report
Published : 01:00, Jul 23, 2019 | Updated : 09:23, Jul 23, 2019

Bangladesh is among the countries set to benefit from the UK government’s new plan to give the Department of International Trade (DIT) access to a large chunk of the country’s 14 billion pound aid budget for the purpose of trade promotion.
The aim of the new policy is to help the UK spend much of the funds on helping developing countries learn from UK expertise on trade deals and attract foreign investment. It will involve the DIT spending funds earmarked as Official Development Assistance (ODA) for a trade-related package for target countries and will count towards the UK government's target of spending 0.7 percent of the country’s national income on overseas aid.
The DIT said the target countries would include Bangladesh, Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, Ethiopia, Colombia, Peru and Indonesia.
Secretary of State for International Trade Liam Fox said, "We want to bring development and trade closer together.
“Free trade is the way we have taken a billion people out of abject poverty in a generation globally, one of the greatest achievements in our history. We need to make sure that carries on."
The Opposition Labour Party accused the government of "pinching aid money from the world's poorest to prop up rich investors".
"As the government desperately chase post-Brexit trade deals, they must rule out raiding the aid budget for anything other than fighting global poverty," said Dan Carden, Labour's Shadow Secretary of State for International Development.
According to the official UK statistics, the UK is the third largest export market for Bangladesh.
UK-Bangladesh bilateral trade in 2018 was 3.6 billion pound, with Bangladesh exporting 3 billion pound of goods and services to the UK and the UK exporting 627 million pound of goods and services to Bangladesh.
The UK is Bangladesh’s second largest source of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). In 2018, the UK’s net FDI into Bangladesh was $373 million.
The UK had recently confirmed its commitment to maintaining Bangladesh’s duty-free and quota-free market access once the UK leaves the European Union.