With the launch of its new trade portal, the government of Bangladesh’s is making import and export information more easily accessible to traders interested in doing business in the country.
The portal, a website that provides documents and information on the trade process, is hosted by the Ministry of Commerce with support from the World Bank Group and is expected to accelerate growth in Bangladesh and increase investments.
The Bangladesh Trade Portal will make it easier for traders and investors to comply with regulatory requirements associated with the importation and exportation of goods as well as help Bangladesh comply with the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Bali Agreement on Trade Facilitation. The Agreement calls for countries to tackle barriers and liberalize trade.
“I hope businessmen will immensely benefit from the use of the trade portal. We would be able to connect to the rest of the world with this portal,” Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed said at the launch ceremony in Dhaka. He also highlighted how the portal is another sign of Bangladesh’s advancement towards greater digital connectivity.
Currently, it takes most traders in Bangladesh between one and five days to obtain information on rules and regulations relating to their business.
“The trade portal is a one-stop point of information, which will improve transparency and accountability,” said Ashish Narain, the World Bank Group’s head of the South Asia Regional Integration for Trade and Investment team.
Now, with only a few clicks the trade portal provides information relating to existing trade regulations and procedures, including but not limited to laws, administrative procedures, guidance notes, applicable fees, forms, licenses, permits and penalties applicable in case of breach. Users can view the portal in both English and Bangla.
The ministry hopes that the portal will help to encourage overseas investors that are interested in trading with Bangladesh and provide them with market and regulatory information to help them export to and import from the country.
The portal has the potential to benefit a large number of traders, according to the government. As of June 2015, there were 48.347 million internet subscribers in Bangladesh with more than 46 million using their mobile to connect.
The Bangladesh Trade Portal is supported through the World Bank Group’s Trade Facilitation Support Program. This global facility helps countries implement their international commitments on trade facilitation, specifically following the WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement.