Enforcement of Bangladesh export policy 2015-18 could boost export significantly

MM Uddin       
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Bangladesh has an export policy, which was published in 2015 and it will remain in force till June 30, 2018. The policy shall be applicable in all places in Bangladesh except the Export Processing Zones, Bangladesh Economic Zones and private Export Processing Zones. Bangladesh is an export-oriented developing country. The country is pursuing export-oriented industrialization with its key export sectors including textiles, shipbuilding, fish and seafood, jute and leather goods. According to the IMF, Bangladesh’s economy is the second fastest growing major economy of 2016, with a rate of 7.1% that has been largely motivated by its exports of RMG products. So it is really positive to have an export policy that could help promote export of the country.

However, last fiscal year, export growth hit a 15-year low at 1.69 percent. It observed a 4.36 percent growth in exports during the first seven months of the 2116-17 fiscal and in the other months, earning from Bangladesh exports have failed to scale the target. According to the provisional data of the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB), export earnings stood at $34.83 billion with a shortfall of more than $2 billion from the government-set target of $37 billion, which in percentage terms accounts for a shortfall of 5.85 percent from the target.

Figure: Showing the total export earning and growth over the previous year.
Figure: Showing the total export earning and growth over the previous year.

The export policy 2015-18

According to the Ministry of Commerce, this export policy will remain valid until the new export policy is enforced and any tax-and-tariff-related decision announced in the National Budget and by the National Board of Revenue shall prevail over the export policy. The policy set some objectives to achieve like-

  • To update and liberalize the trade regime keeping consistence with the global perspectives and needs, and the requirements of World Trade Organization and sub-regional connectivity of the four countries (Bangladesh-India-Nepal-Bhutan).
  • To take target oriented steps to raise export earnings to US$ 60 billion by 2021.
  • To increase export, expand markets and diversify products, and improve balance of trade rationally with different countries.
  • To increase export of all types of products including plant & plant produces and non-traditional products, as well as to establish a compliant supply chain through contract farming.
  • Arrange export of quality products at competitive price, take coordinated effort to upgrade the testing facilities to global standard, improve quality of products, encourage the use of the state-of-the-art, appropriate and environment- friendly technology, produce high value added exportable products and improve designs of products.
  • To make export trade unhindered by ensuring compliance in the export oriented industry, and consolidate the position of Bangladesh in the competitive global trade.
  • To make infrastructural facilities including electricity, water and gas easily obtainable, enhance capacity of the ports and develop communication system connecting the ports in order to facilitate increasing the export.
  • To do branding of Bangladeshi products.
  • To establish more business-friendly banking system under the auspices of Bangladesh Bank and encourage factoring services for export trade financing.
  • To encourage FDl in the export oriented industries for escalating export.
  • To search for new markets, adopt new strategies, collect and analyze information relating to international market in order to expand market of export products.

Implementation strategy

To attain the objective the policy included some implementation strategy. Some strategies are given below-

  • Increasing the institutional capacity and efficiency of the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB), providing assistance in capacity building of the Customs Authorities, Sea and Land Port Authorities, Department of Fisheries, Department of Agricultural Extension, BSTl, Tea Board and different trade bodies, and initiating coordinated activities.
  • Involving Tariff commission in research activities.
  • Modernizing and updating Bangladesh Foreign Missions abroad by strengthening economic diplomacy.
  • Extending support to the export facilitating agencies for enhancing work-efficiency and ensuring transparency and accountability by introducing automation arid e-Governance.
  • Disseminating updated information to the exporters on export markets and technology to facilitate diversification of exports.
  • Giving importance to workers’ right including workplace safety.
  • Providing different financial incentives to exporters including export credit at comparatively lower interest rate.
  • Taking all necessary initiatives for getting duty-free market access to developed and developing countries, including the United States.
  • Taking special initiatives to increase export of products and services in South Asia and other countries of Asia including Middleueast and Africa, Brazil, Mexico, Chile, South Africa, CIS countries including Russia, SAARC countries, SADC (South African Developing Countries).
  • Regular reviewing of the country’s export situation at least once annually and providing

necessary directions by the “National Committee on Export”.

This is a comprehensive export policy, which included total seven chapters. In these seven chapters, the policy pointed out several issues like- General Provision for Export Chapter, Export Diversification, General Export Facilities, Product- Specific Export Facilities, Export of Services and Various Measures for the Promotion of Export.

Conclusion

After analyzing the Export Policy 2015-18 it is understood that in many areas no pragmatic and effective initiative has taken by the appropriate authority to implement the targets of the policy. Already more than two years have been gone and no significant achievement was done following the policy. If the policy was enforced properly the country would not fail in achieving export target in the last fiscal. So, if Bangladesh wants to grow further and want to achieve the target set in the Export Policy, the government needs to take right and effective initiative to implement the policy. There is no use of making a policy if it is not followed well and implemented rightly.

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