Bangladesh has one of highest trade barriers: World Bank

July 15th, 2008 - 2:18 pm ICT by IANS  

Dhaka, July 15 (IANS) Bangladesh maintains a very restrictive trade policy and has one of the highest trade barriers in South Asia, a World Bank report released Monday said. The country has very high tariff and non-tariff trade compared to most countries of the region, the report said.

Bangladesh ranked 113th and 107th in terms of trade policy and institutional environment, respectively, out of 125 countries studied.

The World Trade Indicators (WTI) 2008 is a new database and ranking tool that allows benchmarking and comparisons among 210 countries and customs territories across multiple trade-related indicators.

WTI 2008 shows that in 2007, most developing countries, including Bangladesh, continued to improve trade policies supporting greater integration.

“Bangladesh has the potential to become a middle income country by its own dynamic performance. For that to happen, Bangladesh must deal more seriously with its restrictive policy, poor infrastructure and red-tapism,” said World Bank’s country director Xian Zhu while releasing the report in Dhaka.

Among the world economies, Bangladesh is ranked 59th out of 125 countries in terms of market access.

Duty-free exports accounted for 6.9 percent of Bangladesh’s total exports in 2007, the report said.

The other indicators where Bangladesh has done relatively well are trade outcomes (51st out of 160 countries), external environment (59th out of 125) and trade facilitation (87th out of 151).

Among the least developed South Asian countries, Bangladesh has a trade deficit with members of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc).

Official data released last week also indicated that Bangladesh would have to depend upon foreign aid to fund its development programmes for many years to come.

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