Webinar on "Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Challenges and Options for Bangladesh" jointly organized by South Asia Institute of Policy and Governance (SIPG) and School of Business and Economics (SBE), North South University



The South Asian Institute of Policy and Governance (SIPG) and the School of Business and Economics (SBE) of North South University organized a webinar titled "Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Challenges and Options for Bangladesh" on 10th December, 2020.

Dr. Abdul Hannan Chowdhury, Dean, School of Business and Economics, North South University and Dr. Sk. Tawfique M. Haque, Director, SIPG, North South University delivered the welcome speech.

From the panel, Professor Gour Gobinda Goswami of Department of Economics, North South University pointed out how RCEP will create new challenges for Bangladesh due to the import relations it has with the member countries.

Barrister Nihad Kabir, President, Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) addressed how Bangladesh is unfortunately not a member of many effective bilateral/ regional trade agreements.

Mr. Farooq Ahmed, Secretary General, Bangladesh Employers Federation (BEF), said how trade and politics is inseparable.  

Ambassador Riaz Hamidullah, Bangladesh Ambassador to the Netherlands, mentioned RCEP is not enough - technology, knowledge incubation, a culture of innovation and managerial efficiency would be key in terms of ‘preparedness’ to open up, negotiate and engage with outside.

Mr. MJH Jabed, Director General, South East Asia, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Bangladesh urged not to look into FTAs only in term of tariff, there are bigger multiple factors which thus makes this a regional partnership.

Mr. Taufiqur Rahman, Head, LDC Unit, Development Division WTO, Geneva commented that from the trade perspective Bangladesh may not be impacted negatively in the short run however since it is an economic partnership in the long run there will be more factors other than trade that benefits the member countries of RCEP

Dr. Selim Raihan, Professor, Department of Economics University of Dhaka and Executive Director, South Asian Network on Economic Modeling (SANEM), expressed his concerns about the loss of competitiveness of Bangladesh due to the internal trade flexibility between the member countries of RCEP.

Mr. Iftakharul Islam, Chairman and Co-Founder of Asian Tiger Capital Partners also mentioned RCEP will have profound impact on regional and global chains.

SIPG's Senior Fellow and former Foreign Secretary Ambassador, Shahidul Haque moderated the discussion. Professor Atiqul Islam, Vice-Chancellor of NSU and the Chair of the webinar said, Bangladesh should consider being part of RCEP as it might help the country to gain more internationally.