Britain has finally agreed to lift the ban on direct air cargo from Bangladesh that has been in place for two years, yielding benefits for Bangladesh’s apparel manufacturers and exporters.
Visiting British Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Boris Johnson, after meeting Bangladesh Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali, made it clear that the UK will lift the ban “very soon”.
“Bangladesh Government has made huge efforts in this regard. We are very pleased,” he told journalists at a joint press briefing at the end of his meeting with Minister Ali.
The British envoy met Minister Ali at Bangladesh’s state guest house Padma in Dhaka at around 7:45 pm on February 9, 2018, hours after he landed for a two-day visit.
British High Commissioner to Dhaka Alison Blake was also present in the meeting.
The ban was placed on Bangladesh following some major security concerns at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport, Dhaka two years ago. Since then, Bangladesh’s air cargo is screened at a third country before entering the UK, incurring additional costs.
Johnson did not specify further but the meeting sources said, “It is only a matter of time and that only some bureaucratic formalities are waiting to be completed.”
After the US and Germany, the UK is the third major destination for Bangladesh’s exports, over 82 per cent of which is occupied by apparel products – knitwear and woven garments.
Notably, the tally of apparel export to the UK stood at US $ 1.85 billion from July-December last year, according to Bangladesh’s Export Promotion Bureau data.