The government has empowered BGMEA to issue country of origin (COO) certificates to apparel exporters from next week to help them reduce their time for shipment, Commerce Minister Faruk Khan said yesterday.
Now state-run Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) issues such certificates to declare the products' manufacturing countries. Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) said the EPB takes much time to do so which harms the exporters.
The minister said the government also considers empowering Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) to issue these certificates.
"I have allowed the BGMEA to issue the COO certificates to make the export process quicker and simpler as the EPB makes delay," Khan told The Daily Star.
The BGMEA will be able to issue such certificates soon as all the formalities have already been completed from the commerce ministry, Khan said, adding that an official announcement has also been made.
He said the ministry has given priority to the trade bodies through such initiatives of empowering. If anybody misuses such power, he will be punished, Khan added.
BGMEA President Abdus Salam Murshedy said it takes two to three days to get the COO certificates from the EPB, which puts them in a struggle to meet the buyers' specified lead time.
The average lead time for shipment from Bangladesh is 90 days if the products are sent by sea, Murshedy said, adding that previously the time was 120 days.
Many buyers do not come to Bangladesh because of a long lead time, but recently it was possible to reduce the time by speeding up some formalities, he said.
"If we can't send the products within the lead time, we have to make shipment by air, which is very costly," the BGMEA boss said.
He said the apex apparel trade body will soon start printing and issuing the certificates. The exporters will get the COO certificates in a day, as there will be a separate desk and dedicated officials for issuing such certificates.
Source: The Daily Star