Speakers at a webinar on Saturday said Bangladesh should target China to expand its market share for a smooth LDC graduation.
They also said although China is one of the largest importers in the World, but Bangladesh's presence in that market is negligible.
They made this observation at a webinar titled, "Prospects of Bangladeshi Products in Chinese Market: How to Realize the Potential of Preferential Treatment" jointly organized by Bangladesh China Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCCI) and the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB).
China has maintained its position as the world's largest manufacturing country; it is also one of the largest importers of the world. It has about a $40 trillion domestic market, said Dr. Abu Eusuf, Chairman RAPID and Professor Department of Development Studies, University of Dhaka.
"If Bangladesh can achieve a one-percent share of the Chinese market, export earnings from China alone could be in the range of $20-$25 billion", he added.
The next five years are very crucial for Bangladesh. That is why the Chinese market should be the target for a smooth graduation of Bangladesh.
UNDP Bangladesh economist Dr Nazneen Ahmed said Bangladesh should focus on the Chinese investment and export market equally for a smooth graduation from LDC.
She also mentioned that one belt and road initiative would be a trump card for business negotiation with China.
Mahbub Uz Zaman, Bangladesh Ambassador to China was the Guest of honor while Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) Bangladesh director general Mahbubur Rahman presided over the event.
Bangladesh Ambassador to China Mahbub Uz Zaman said Bangladesh should focus on diversifying the export basket to materialize the given duty free access.
The government is also working for a permanent exhibition center at Shanghai in China to display Bangladeshi products.
BIISS research director Dr Mahfuz Kabir presented the key-note paper and Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS) Research Associate Siban Shahana was moderator of the webinar.
Dr Mahfuz Kabir said the top five items constituted around 76 percent of total exported goods to China in FY2020-21. Of the total export, Woven garments represents 21%, Knitwear 19%, Raw hides & skins and leather 9%, Iron and steel 6% and Other vegetable textile fibres 21%.
Dr Kabir said China has granted duty-free access of 97% (8,256) Bangladeshi products effective from July 1, 2020, which is expected to bring a new opportunity for Bangladeshi exporters and businesses as almost all items of RMG, jute and jute products, fish, leather and leather products, shoes, home textiles, medicines, perfumes, cosmetics and other toiletries, soaps, plastic and plastic products, rubber and rubber products, stone, cement are included.
BCCCI Joint secretary Al Mamun Mridha said Bangladesh and China traditionally have been enjoying friendly bilateral relations for many years.
In recent years, the development of Bangladesh China relations has been promoted onto the fast track.
"The bilateral trade between the two countries almost takes on a single way of traffic, which is tilting heavily for China. And the trade gap keeps on increasing, because of less realization of utilizing the unbelievable preferential tariff package granted by China", he added.
Al Mamun Mridha said China accounts for more than one-fifth of Bangladesh's total imports although its share in Bangladesh's exports is very small: just around 2%.
"China should also help Bangladesh in further expanding its exports and reduce the bilateral trade deficit at a reasonable level," he added.
In FY 2018-19, the value of bilateral trade between Bangladesh and China was about $15 billion with Bangladesh's exports to China being less than $1 billion.