New policy to near double exports

The government aims to near double exports to US$50 billion by 2018 as it frames new export policy, betting on the markets of three Asian economic giants, trade officials said.

Commerce ministry officials said Japan, India, and China will emerge as vibrant exports destinations in the coming years and the diversification will help achieve the target.

The officials said the draft Export Policy 2015-18 has the provision of offering incentives to help broaden markets and products base to reach the target.

export-importThe ambitious target is being set after the country’s overseas sales hit a record $30 billion in 2014 financial year.

Besides, 12 products that are either new or slower in earning foreign currencies have been incorporated in the draft export policy, which will enjoy the government support.

Deep-sea fish, leather and leather products, frozen fish and processed fish items, handicrafts, electric and electronic items, fresh flower and foliage, loom fabrics, medicinal plants and medicine and medical items, plastic goods, furniture, printing and packaging, paper and rubber are the new items that have been included in the new policy.

Export Promotion Bureau officials also said the government wants to make the export system modern and liberal in conformity with the WTO (World Trade Organisation) rules.

Production of labour-intensive export products will be encouraged and supply of local and foreign raw materials made easier.

Besides, there will be attempts to improve quality of export products, bring diversification, increase production and capacity to compete through addressing the compliance issue.

However, the government will take move to introduce different types of packages for the exporters to combat unforeseen challenges in the global market.

To increase export of vegetables and frozen foods, the government will initiate establishment of a central warehouse and cool chain system near Dhaka international airport and all types of financial and technical support would be provided to collect deep-sea fish, according to the draft policy.

“We are optimistic about attaining the target of doubling the country’s export earnings within the period,” EPB vice chairman Shubhashish Bose told the FE.

He said that India, China and Japan will emerge as another USA or EU for Bangladesh in the coming years with respect to achieving the target.

President of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FBCCI) Kazi Akram Uddin Ahmed hailed the government’s move to formulate the new export policy.

Mr Akram said lower lending rate would help promote export-oriented industries of the country.

“On behalf of FBCCI, I urge the government to bring down bank interest rate for the interest of raising exports.”

President of Exporters Association of Bangladesh (EAB) Abdus Salam Murshedy called upon the EPB to add new sectors to the export list to make it more practical.

The new policy, however, discourages giving special preference to gas and electricity connections to the export-oriented industries as requested by the BGMEA (Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association) and the BKMEA (Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association).

The commerce ministry is expected to hold a meeting with the stakeholders next month to finalise the policy and will then send it to the cabinet for its approval.

The validity of the present policy will expire on June 30, 2015.