Cabinet body approves new export policy

Strategy framed to raise export to $60 by 2021 to become MIC, says Tofail

The Cabinet Economic Affairs Committee yesterday gave its go-ahead to the ‘Export Policy 2015-18’ placed by the commerce ministry, reports UNB. After the Cabinet body’s approval, Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed said the core theme of the new 3-year term policy is the implementation of the government’s ‘Vision 2021’.
The ‘Vision 2021’ was prepared to make Bangladesh a middle-income country as dreamt by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, he said. “To increase our export to $60 billion has been targeted by 2021 of which 50 billion will come from readymade garment (RMG) while the rest will come from ICT and other sectors,” he told reporters while briefing on the new export policy at his ministry. At present, the country’s annual export stands at $31.20 billion.
Chaired by Finance Minister AMA Muhith, the Cabinet body meeting was attended by senior ministers, including Industries Minister Amir Hossain Amu and Agriculture Minister Matia Chowdhury.
Tofail said the list of export items has been restructured and some new non-conventional export exports, including IT, tea, papers, shipbuilding, handicrafts, have been put on top of it. Some new items will get incentives.
He said the main strategy of the new export policy is to diversify both the products and market without depending on any particular country. The attention was specially given to export increase to the Latin American market.
The minister said many nations, except the USA, offered Bangladesh the GSP facilities and tax-free market access.
He said the IT and tea sectors have earned the top priority as there are potentials that Bangladesh can earn over $10 billion from the IT sector where the value addition is 100 percent.
Similarly, tea has been a new area to raise its export to 100 million from the current volume of 66 million a year.
Now, tea is being cultivated in the country’s some northern districts which are not traditionally growing this export items. So, the improvement of these new areas has been given emphasis in the export policy while campaign has been planned to popularise these tea as Bangladeshi brand like Sylhet Tea, Srimongal Tea like those of India’s Sylon tea.
The official documents obtained by UNB show that 11 sectors, including ICT, pharmaceuticals, light-engineering, agro and herbal products, and shipbuilding are set to get priority as the most potent sectors in the proposed new export policy for a 3-year term.
The executive summary of the new policy reveals that the capacity-building of the export-oriented industries, ensuring fair prices for the export products maintaining qualitative standards, and product diversification and market expansion are the core targets of the new proposed export policy.
The commerce ministry started the job for preparing the draft of the new export policy on June 30, 2014. In more than one year, the ministry sought proposals from 84 organisations, including government entities and private sector trade and chamber bodies.
But proposals were received primarily from 15 organisations, including the Bangladesh Bank, and finally 28 public and private bodies sent their proposals to the Commerce Ministry.
Tofail said the government for the first time accommodated some services sectors as special development thrust sectors. Under this initiative, tourism sector, architecture, engineering and consultancy services have been accommodated under the development sector.
He said ‘Made in Bangladesh’ campaign will be launched globally to expand the country’s export market and under this plan, the country’s all foreign missions will be made proactive and new commercial wings will opened in some countries to achieve the target.