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Commerce ministry to assess official trade tours

  • Published at 07:06 pm November 3rd, 2013

Commerce Ministry will for the first time evaluate its official visits to different countries in last one year to explore market opportunities.

The ministry’s secretary Mahbub Ahmed told the Dhaka Tribune that they would assess the visits on the basis of three focal points.

A young official will deal with one focal point communicating and exchanging views with officials in the visited countries, he said. The missions visited different countries in Africa, Latin America and Central Asia during the year.

“Previously, there was no such ministerial assessment on official tours and their outcomes,” said Mahbub Ahmed.

Recently, the Latin American country Chile has given Bangladeshi products duty-free and quota-free access to its market in a move to boost trade between the two nations.

Last year, an official delegation headed by commerce secretary visited Chile to talk about strengthening bilateral trade. The team also visited Brazil, Colombia and Mexico at that time.

Mahbub Ahmed believed the duty-free and quota-free offer was the outcome of the visit.

Market exploration for manpower export was also a part of those visits. After taking office, the present government listed 16 countries for manpower export.

The countries included Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Italy, Belgium, Germany, Spain, Rumania, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Poland, Australia, New Zeeland, South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe.

But experts said such efforts have been failing to yield any positive outcome due to lack of expertise and involvement of only bureaucrats.

“Expertise knowledge is required in exploring markets. Otherwise, we will continue to fail to grab opportunities,” viewed Dr Khondaker Golam Moazzem, additional research director of Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD).

He also put emphasis on increasing the role of the missions in foreign countries to boost bilateral trade.

The people concerned said there is also no proper policy and guideline on market exploration.

About duty and quota free exports to Chile, CPD research director said: “As Chile already has such agreements with 60 countries, Bangladesh will not be benefited to that much.”

“But it will help Bangladesh start journey into Latin America.”

In the fiscal 2012-2013, Bangladesh exported goods worth US$30.37m to Chile, Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) data showed.

Of the exports, 93% or $28.26m was apparel items while other products included jute yarn, jute fabrics, foot wears, caps and pharmaceuticals products.

During the fiscal, Bangladesh exported $208m to Russia, Ukraine $3.62m, Uzbekistan $6.51m, Kyrgyzstan $290,000m and Kazakhstan $560,000m.

These countries were visited during the year by commerce ministry teams.