BGMEA demands quick government action to lift UK bar on cargo from Dhaka airport

BGMEA organised a media call on Thursday to state their concern over the ‘loss of goodwill’ and ‘harm to exports’ due to the decision by the UK.

In a web post announcing the bar on Tuesday, the UK authorities said their recent assessments of Shahjajal International Airport found that some international security requirements were not being met.

BGMEA President Siddiqur Rahman said the issue needed to be settled soon through government-level discussions, as Bangladesh’s trade with the UK is rising.

“We need to know why the UK imposed the bar and want the government to take a ‘crash programme’, if need be, to address the issue,” he said.

The government said it took steps to strengthen security at the airports.

Civil Aviation Minister Rashed Khan Menon has decided to do office at Shahjalal International Airport for some part of the day until Mar 31 in order to speed up the overhauling of the security system.

BGMEA chief Rahman said the government should handle the issue with all seriousness. “Please inform the UK government about the steps you have taken,” he urged the government.

Rahman said the garment sector, which contributes most to Bangladesh’s export, was already facing losses due to a similar bar Australia imposed three months ago.

The new curbs by the UK would also hit export to other European countries, he said.

Bangladesh usually ships cloths abroad. But the exporters sometimes send apparels through airways to avoid delay.

Now the exporters of all goods will have to send products to the UK via Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand or Dubai, which will increase both cost and time.

According to Rahman, Bangladesh exported around $3 billion worth of garments to the UK in 2014-15 fiscal year. The amount was 11.39 percent of the total garment export that year.