Wednesday, 31st May, 2023
Wednesday, 31st May, 2023

Bangladesh trade facilitation initiative launched

Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi has launched the “Bangladesh Trade Facilitation,” a new agriculture and economic development project funded by the US Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service.

US Ambassador Earl R Miller joined the minister at the inaugural ceremony held at a Dhaka hotel Wednesday.

Tipu emphasised the government’s “commitment to ensuring self-sufficiency in food production, supplying safe and nutritious food as well as commercialising the agriculture sector, making it a profitable venture for poor farmers.”

Noting the investment from the American people, Ambassador Miller, in turn, confirmed the US government’s support for Bangladesh’s reform measures and promotion of a business-friendly trade environment.

“This project will facilitate and incentivise investment, construction, and the operation of new cold storage facilities to improve and expand on Bangladesh’s refrigerated logistics network,” Miller added.

The Ministry of Commerce coordinates Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) implementation for the Bangladesh government and Secretary Tapan Kanti Ghosh explained that the World Trade Organization (WTO) WTO Cell of the ministry would work closely with Land O’Lakes Venture37.

Tapan emphasised partnerships, saying, “I expect that the project will focus on building partnerships between the public and private sector and other development partners.”

Recognising the strong economic ties between the US and Bangladesh, Abdul Kasem Khan, chairperson of Business Initiative Leading Development (BUILD), congratulated Tipu and Miller for creating opportunities for agro-food industries.

Kasem stated that import and export businesses stand to gain a lot from more efficient trade procedures. “Businesses demand predictable and harmonised processes and highly value transparency.”

Global trade opportunities and investments in strategic industries will play a significantly important role in Bangladesh’s further growth aspirations to become an upper-middle-income and a developed country,” he said.

The $27 million project supports the Bangladesh government to implement the WTO TFA in the areas of simplifying and automating import and export processes, strengthening risk-based clearance processes, improving notification provisions, developing the capacity and testing procedures of laboratories, and enhancing the cold chain system for facilitating trade of perishable goods.

Land O’Lakes Venture37, a US-based not-for-profit economic and agricultural development organisation, implements the project.

It is bringing together the agencies supervising and providing trade services, which include the WTO Cell and the National Trade Facilitation Committee of the Ministry of Commerce; National Board of Revenue; Ministry of Agriculture; Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock; the Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution (BSTI); Plant Quarantine Wing of Department of Agricultural Extension; Department of Agricultural Marketing; Bangladesh Food Safety Authority; the Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission, and other key private sector stakeholders.

The Bangladesh Trade Facilitation Project is a five-year initiative that will promote policy reform, and provide technical, logistical, and technological assistance to the Bangladesh government’s agencies and agricultural and food industry stakeholders.

The goal is to make the import and export of agricultural products more efficient.

Each project activity addresses one or more WTO TFA measures, and the objectives are aligned with the country’s Eighth Five-Year Plan.

The goal is to increase Bangladesh’s ability to expand and diversify its exports, ensure the safety and quality of imported food items, and improve its institutional systems for agricultural trade.

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