OLAF strengthens cooperation with Bangladeshi Export Promotion Bureau
OLAF PRESS RELEASE 6/2012 10 December 2012
Enhanced operational cooperation is at the centre of a new “Memorandum of understanding on administrative cooperation between OLAF and EPB” signed on 7 December in Brussels between the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) and the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) of Bangladesh. The objective of the new MoU is to improve cooperation between the two services as agreed during the OLAF conference 'Working Together to Fight Fraud' with its ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) and neighbouring partners, including Bangladesh, in January 2011 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Mr. Shubhashish Bose, the Vice-Chairman of the EPB, paid a two-day visit to OLAF. The main purpose of his visit was to reinforce existing cooperation between the EPB and OLAF by further developing the exchange of information between the two services, as well as to sign a new MoU. "The MoU is an excellent means of deepening our already outstanding relations with OLAF. Our objective is to cooperate even more closely with OLAF in order to combat any fraudulent activities,” said Shubhashish Bose during his visit.
The new Cooperation Arrangement between OLAF and the EPB will enable the two offices to work more closely throughout the whole investigative cycle by means of a more rapid and more targeted information exchange. It will enable investigators to conduct joint investigations where the financial interests of both the European Union and Bangladesh are at stake. It will also allow the two services to exchange staff and to cooperate in the field of training.
The EPB is the competent authority for issuing preferential Certificates of Origin which grant duty-free access to the European markets, mainly for textiles (i.e. ready-made garments), representing more than 75% of Bangladeshi exports in value. This advantage is granted to Bangladesh because of its status as a least developed country. Duty-free access makes Bangladesh vulnerable to fraudulent activities in this sector, namely misdeclaration of goods originating from China, enabling criminals to avoid paying the 12% tax rate on Chinese textiles.
OLAF has, together with the EPB, successfully conducted a number of investigations into similar fraud schemes in recent years. The EPB is currently implementing a new automatized system for issuing preferential Certificates of Origin. The new system is co-financed by the EU and Bangladesh.
OLAF The mission of the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) is threefold: it protects the financial interests of the European Union (EU) by investigating fraud, corruption and any other illegal activities; it detects and investigates serious matters relating to the discharge of professional duties by members and staff of the EU institutions and bodies that could result in disciplinary or criminal proceedings; and it supports the European Commission in the development and implementation of fraud prevention and detection policies.