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Speakers at a seminar in Chittagong yesterday stressed the need for proactive polices and capacity-building programmes to help diversify Bangladeshi apparel exports.
The seminar titled "Market Access and Product Diversification" was held at Chittagong Club Auditorium on the concluding day of the three-day Chittagong Apparel, Fabrics and Accessories Exposition, which was organised by Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA).
Awami League lawmakers Tofael Ahmed and Akhteruzzaman Chowdhury and BNP Chittagong City Unit President Amir Khosru Mahmud Chowdhury were also present.
BGMEA President Abdus Salam Murshedy presided over the seminar, where 1st Vice-President Nasiruddin Chowdhury made an address of welcome.
The speakers lauded the role of BGMEA in generating employment and contributing to the economy of the country.
Dr Khondaker Golam Moazzem, senior research fellow of Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), and Sharmin Chowdhury, research associate of CPD, presented a keynote paper on least developed countries' market access to the rich world.
GTZ Programme Coordinator Dr Dietrich Stotz presented another keynote paper on increased business through capacity development.
The speakers observed that LDC exports are still confined to a limited number of countries and products.
Bangladesh could achieve spectacular growth in RMG exports where preferential market access to major markets was the major factor, while availability of workers, low wages, favourable government policies and a group of dynamic entrepreneurs were other factors contributing to achievement.
But the export structure remained narrow and undiversified, both in terms of products and markets, said the speakers.
They referred to the new export policy order 2009-12 that re-emphasises increasing market and product diversification.
The government as well as private sector trade bodies should emphasise product development as per buyer requirements and focus efforts on seeking potential markets.
They observed that developed countries should take proactive policies towards product development in LDC quality improvement, strengthen compliances and maintain health and safety standards as per the buyer requirements.
The speakers also underscored the need for extending the initiative for capacity building programmes further towards the enhancement of exports of potential products to potential markets.
Later, a ceremony to wrap up the fair was held at the exposition venue -- CJKS Indoor Stadium.