: Commerce &
Commerce Information :
1972-73, the export earnings of the country totaled
US$348.33 million, of which 90% came from the jute
export sector. The other major export producing
items were tea and leather. Since then, the country
has been widening its export base. The situation
has now vastly improved with addition of non-traditional
items like readymade garments, shrimps, fish, finished,
leather, newsprint chemical fertilizer, handicrafts,
naphtha, ceramic products, fresh fruits, flowers
and vegetables, etc. As a result, the export earnings
increased, estimated to be US $ 5020 million during
The major importable items include raw cotton, textile
fabrics and accessories cotton yarn, petroleum products,
capital machinery, automobiles including spares
and accessories, industrial chemicals and dyes,
pharmaceutical raw materials, milk food, edible-oil,
coal, ferrous and non-ferrous metals, cement, etc.
The value of imports during 1997-98 has been estimated
to be US$ 7525 million.
In line with the global trend, the government has
steadily liberalized its trade barriers and significant
progress has been achieved in recent years in reducing
or eliminating non-tariff restrictions, rationalizing
tariff rates and raising export incentives.
The county was one of the major exporters of textiles,
silk and sugar till the eighteenth century but the
industrialization process was subsequently halted
during the 200 years of colonial exploitation. As
a result, Bangladesh inherited a narrow industrial
base when it became independent in 1971.
It has a good number of large, medium and small-sized
industries in both public and private sectors based
on both indigenous and imported raw materials. Among
them are jute, cotton, textile, fertilizer, engineering,
shipbuilding, steel, oil-refinery, paper, newsprint,
sugar, chemicals, cement and leather. Raw Jute and Jute Industry has traditionally played an important role in the
national economy. But in recent years, Ready Made
Garments Industry has replaced Jute Industry as the principal
export-earner for the country. Considerable progress
has been attained in the past few years in industries
such as leather, ceramic, shrimp, fish, pharmaceuticals
and frozen food.
With the development of infrastructures, supportive
policies for trade and investment and comparative
advantage in labour-intensive Industries, excellent
prospects for investment exist in Bangladesh today.
Industrial growth was recorded at 81% during 1997-98.
Foreign investors are pouring into the country in
greater numbers everday, especially in the export
processing zones special facilties existing at Dhaka
To attract local and foreign investors, the present
government has introduced a number of perks and
incentives. These include provision for setting
up export processing zones in the private sector,
initiatives to set up new EPZs in the public sector,
tax holiday for export-oriented industries, scope
for 100 percent foreign investments and repatriation
of profits. etc.
Due to the present economic necessity and past experiences,
privatization of state-owned enterprises are being
geared up by the present government.