Exports to grow 15pc

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Exports to grow 15pc
Growth highest in South and South-West Asia: UN ESCAP report

From left, Bangladesh Tariff Commission Chairman Mozibur Rahman, Commerce Minister Faruk Khan and ARTNeT Coordinator Mia Mikic launch Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Report 2011 at Ruposhi Bangla Hotel in Dhaka yesterday.Photo: STAR

Star Business Report

Bangladesh’s exports are forecast to grow by 15 percent annually in 2011 and 2012, higher than any country in South and South-West Asia, said the Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Report (APTIR) 2011.

Exports of South and South-West Asia will increase by 9.5 percent in 2011 and 9.7 percent in 2012, while least developed countries (LDCs) are projected to grow by 8.7 percent this year and 14 percent next year, according to the report.

Bangladesh Tariff Commission and the Asia Pacific Research and Training Network on Trade (ARTNeT) launched the UNESCAP’s APTIR for 2011 at Ruposhi Bangla Hotel yesterday.

The report hailed Bangladesh’s booming performance of services exports, which grew by 24 percent in 2010 after a slow growth of 4 percent in 2009.

With its theme of “post-crisis trade and investment opportunities”, this year’s Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Report has identified challenges and opportunities for trade and investment in the region.

The APTIR identified poor foreign direct investment inflows and intra-regional trade as major challenges for Bangladesh.

Commerce Minister Faruk Khan spoke at the report launching programme as chief guest. Mozibur Rahman, chairman of Bangladesh Tariff Commission, and Mia Mikic, ARTNeT co-ordinator, UNESCAP (United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific), also attended the event.

The commerce minister gave an overview on how the government is trying to expand the export basket and destinations to further boost the country’s export earnings.

“Export of non-conventional goods and services such as ship, jute and IT has been growing. Incentives will be given to boost handicraft export,” said Khan.

On the new markets, he said Japan, South America and South Africa are increasingly becoming Bangladesh’s export destinations. He cited an example of Japan that has relaxed value addition to 20 percent from previous 30 percent for getting generalised system of preference (GSP) facility.

The minister said India that has recently allowed duty-free and quota-free exports of 46 garment items will also boost Bangladesh’s exports there.

He said the GSP form will soon be made fully automated to render faster and reliable services.

Mikic said though Bangladesh’s exports of goods and services are growing, the FDI and intra-regional trade are not. Bangladesh received only $4 billion in FDI in five years (2005-09), lower than many LDCs.

“Improving the private sector business environment is a major task to increase FDI,” said Mikic.

She said only 15 percent of Bangladesh’s exports went to Asia-Pacific countries in 2010, while 63 percent of its imports came from the region.

Mikic urged Bangladesh to look for new opportunities in climate smart goods and technologies, which is estimated to be $30 billion globally.

The report recommended that with strengthened regional cooperation and the right policies, the region will be able to continue its strong trade- and investment-led growth.

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