Towards greater trade with Italy

The authorities would do well to assess current trade conditions and make necessary arrangements

Despite the many challenges elicited by the Covid-19 pandemic, Bangladesh has been making strides in establishing and strengthening its ties with various developed countries, paving the way forward for our economy. This has been editorialized by this newspaper, and the government, relevant authorities, and all stakeholders deserve to be applauded for recognizing the importance of diplomacy.

A case in point is the improved trade between Bangladesh and Italy, garnering a two-way trade volume of over $2.2 billion. While a major reason can be attributed to the direct container ship route from Chittagong port to the port of Ravenna, which became operational in February this year, no doubt the ongoing discussions between the two nations have only gone from strength to strength and have also been a major reason for this uptick.

The direct container ship route has not only cut down the cost and duration of transportation significantly, but also encourages both countries to explore more efficient and frequent trade options for added mutual benefits.

This is an extremely favourable development for our country. 

Italy is currently our sixth largest export destination, with RMG products making up the majority of the exports. Yet, as Bangladesh Ambassador to Italy Md Shameem Ahsan rightfully identified, given that other items such as leather, jute, and ceramics can also be exported to Italy, and with faster and cheaper trade being facilitated, it is a golden opportunity for our export industry to not only grow more, but also be diversified.

With more negotiations in the cards, the authorities would do well to assess current trade conditions and make necessary arrangements to enable further avenues to be explored effectively.

The trade target with Italy accounts for $1.4bn of the total target of $4.35bn for the current fiscal year. Needless to say, it is an extremely promising relationship that can, if cultivated with care, advance us on our path to building stronger and more long-term bilateral ties.