17 items selected for exports after Covid

The government has selected a total of 17 products in an effort to promote in the post-Covid-19 period and to boost their exports after Bangladesh graduates from the least developed country (LDC) to middle income one.

The 17 products are selected from a list of items, given by the Bangladeshi commercial counsellors from 20 countries, where export of these goods can be boosted expressively, additionally suggesting a policy supports if required, said a Commerce Ministry official.

The official said the ministry sought ideas and suggestions from the commercial counsellors of Bangladesh missions abroad about the products.

"As Bangladesh needs to boost exports for maintaining higher economic growth after our graduation from LDC, we had sought ideas and suggestions from the commercial counsellors last year," said the official.  

The products are: Woven fabrics of jute and jute yarn, footwear, leather goods, antibiotic, electronics, furniture, ceramics, frozen fish and crustaceans, sacks and bags and jute articles, pharmaceuticals, plastic goods, toys, bicycle and motorcycle, fruits and vegetables, paper and cardboard, and Information Technology (IT) and IT-enabled services.

"Now we are working to identify the barriers that the products face in those twenty countries as well as find ways to remove the obstacles," he said.

During the pandemic period, he said the country’s export is already facing various challenges as global economic activities are struggling to revive overcoming Covid-19 impacts.

After graduation from the LDC club the challenges will deepen further. So, diversification of exporting products and destinations will be key factors, said the Commerce Ministry official.

"Efforts need to be made to enhance exports by providing as much as policy supports needed and removing all obstacles," he added.

“We have to give supports to raise exports, keeping in mind what our competitors provide,” he said.

The official said that a specific action plan will be taken to promote the products in the countries, where they have vast potentials to be exported in increased volume.

If requires, these 17 products will be given cash incentives so that they could compete in their targeted destinations.

“We are working keeping in mind all the regulatory requirements, tariff preferences, existing tariff, and documentary requirements to promote these products,” he added.

Earlier, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) identified three sectors – leather, plastics and light engineering – for export diversification beyond readymade garments (RMG).

IFC – a member of the World Bank Group – said the sectors have the potential to create greater access to international markets for Bangladeshi products.

The IFC stressed the need for Bangladesh to diversify its export baskets in order to sustain accelerated economic growth, increase investment opportunities, and create more jobs – particularly for women. 

It also gave recommendations for policymakers on strategy development to integrate priority sectors with the global value chain.

The IFC compared Bangladesh's export performance to several competitor countries – including Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, China and India – to identify where Bangladesh can improve. 

In February this year Bangladesh received the recommendation from a UN committee for graduating from the least developed country (LDC) status.

The UN Committee for Development Policy (CDP) made the final decision after the second round of reviews, recommending taking Bangladesh out from the list of the least developed countries (LDCs).

The five-day review meeting was held on February 22-26.

The UN committee also made recommendations on the country's appeal to extend the final terminal period to 2026 from 2024.