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Trade key to faster growth for Bangladesh: WB report

Thursday, October 22, 2015 > 10:41:55

(Financial Express)

International and regional trade, especially with South Asian and East Asian neighbours is critical for Bangladesh to create more and better jobs for the two million youths entering the labour force every year, says a new report of the World Bank (WB).

The report - Diagnostic Trade Integration Study - was launched in the capital on Wednesday, with Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed as the chief guest.

Addressing the launching of the report, the commerce minister put high importance on increasing trade for expediting economic growth towards achieving the middle income country status by 2021.

The minister expected that the country would accelerate its GDP (gross domestic product) growth to 7.4 percent in the next five years if trade increases amid stable economic and non-economic factors, a BSS report said.

He urged countries including India for removing tariff and non-tariff barriers for Bangladesh products so the bilateral and multilateral trade relations strengthen further.

Commenting on the report through video conferencing, WB Country Director Johannes Zutt said Bangladesh needs higher volumes of exports to larger and richer markets, beyond its relatively smaller domestic market to accelerate GDP growth.

"Bangladeshi firms have succeeded in garments, and they can also succeed in other industries with demonstrative competiveness such as jute-based industries, footwear, information and communications technology, shipbuilding, pharmaceuticals, light industry such as bicycles and others", he said.

The WB reports also provides a roadmap for strengthening Bangladesh's trade competitiveness and developing a policy regime that takes full advantage of international markets.

It also identifies a number of reform initiatives in high priority areas for enhancing the country's trade capacity and competitiveness.

The report suggests that Bangladesh needs to focus on diversifying regional and global markets, building a wider export base, improving worker and consumer welfare, and strengthening institutional capacity while sustaining sound economic fundamentals to accelerate export growth.

It calls for establishing an inter-ministerial committee to help Bangladeshi exporters to succeed in a globally competitive environment.

Emphasising on connectivity, the WB said Bangladesh would need to expand its linkages with neighboring countries such as China and India as well as other Asian countries like Japan and South Korea, to access underexploited markets and attract greater Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).

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