Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi said on Wednesday as per the commitment, the government is working to reduce the cost of doing business in agriculture sector by assisting the entrepreneurs in their export and import process.
"It is our commitment to ensure self sufficiency in food production, supply safe and nutritious food as well as commercialize the agriculture sector for making it a profitable venture to poor farmers... This has been reflected in our policy documents and plans," he said
The US Department of Agriculture's Foreign Agricultural Service has funded the project.
The US$27 million project supports the government of Bangladesh to implement the World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement 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.
Commerce Secretary Tapan Kanti Ghosh, US Ambassador to Bangladesh Earl R Miller and Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) Director Abul Kasem Khan, among others, spoke on the occasion.
Land O'Lakes Venture37, a US based not-for-profit economic and agricultural development organization implements the project, bringing together the agencies supervising and providing trade services including 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; Department of Fisheries and Department of Livestock Services of the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock; Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution of the Ministry of Industries; Plant Quarantine Wing of Department of Agricultural Extension and Department of Agricultural Marketing of the Ministry of Agriculture; Bangladesh Food Safety Authority; Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission; and key private sector stakeholders.
The goal is to increase Bangladesh's ability to expand and diversify its exports, ensure safety and quality of imported food items, and to improve its institutional systems for agricultural trade.
"The National Trade Facilitation Committee under my leadership oversees the implementation of the trade facilitation agreement of the WTO," he added.
Noting the investment from the American people, Ambassador Miller, in turn, confirmed the U.S. Government's support for Bangladesh's reform measures and promotion of a business-friendly trade environment.
"This project will facilitate and incentivize investment, construction, and the operation of new cold storage facilities to improve and expand on Bangladesh's refrigerated logistics network," Ambassador Miller said.
The Bangladesh Trade Facilitation Project is a five-year initiative that will promote policy reform, and provide technical, logistical, and technological assistance to government of Bangladesh agencies and agricultural and food industry stakeholders. The goal is to make importing and exporting 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, Promoting Prosperity and Fostering Inclusiveness.