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Trade facilitation project launched for farm goods

  • Staff Correspondent
  • 7 October, 2021 12:00 AM
  • Print news
Trade facilitation project launched for farm goods
Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi speaks at the inauguration of ‘Bangladesh Trade Facilitation’ at a hotel in the capital on Wednesday.

Bangladesh Trade Facilitation Project (BTF) has been launched with the aim of improving export-import process of agricultural products.

It will focus on reforming necessary infrastructure and increasing the country’s capacity in this sector.

The new agriculture and economic development project is being funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service.

It focuses on expanding trade in agricultural products by reducing trade cost, decreasing the release time of imported agricultural goods, and increasing agricultural productivity by improving processes.

Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi inaugurated the project as the chief guest at a hotel in Dhaka on Wednesday.

US Ambassador to Bangladesh Earl R. Mille was also present on the occasion. The $27 million project supports the Bangladesh government to implement the World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement, said a press release.

It will support in the areas of simplifying and automating import and export processes, strengthening risk-based clearance processes and improving notification provisions.

The supports will also be provided in developing the capacity and testing procedures of laboratories, and enhancing the cold chain system for facilitating trade of perishable goods.

 A development partner group led by Land O’Lakes Venture 37, a US-based non-profit economic and agricultural development organization, will implement the project jointly with local government and non-government organisations involved in international trade of agricultural products.

The project will help the government implement the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement to help Bangladeshi products enter the world market and reduce the cost and time of imports.

Tipu Munshi said the project would be successful with the help of all concerned in legal and structural reforms of the country's trade system and development of testing system to ensure product quality. He said it would also introduce to risk-based product unloading management structure, and creation and development of temperature controlled product storage infrastructure. Commerce minister said it would ensure strong position of Bangladeshi agricultural products in international trade.

Noting the investment from the American people, US envoy Earl R. Miller assured of the U.S. government’s support for Bangladesh’s reform measures and promotion of a business-friendly trade environment.

Ambassador said, “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.”

He called upon the public and private sectors to take concerted steps to facilitate investment in new cold storage infrastructure in the ports of the country with a view to facilitating the import-export support of perishable goods.

Speaking as the special guest Abul Kashem Khan, chairperson of BUILD and director of FBCCI, highlighted the strong trade relations between the United States and Bangladesh.

He urged the government agencies to make the best use of the opportunities created by the project for the development of legal framework and methodologies in the agro-food industry.

The project is a five-year initiative that will promote policy reform, and provide technical, logistical, and technological assistance to the government agencies and agricultural and food industry stakeholders.

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.