DHAKA, BANGLADESH (11 December 2013) – Asian DevelopmentBank (ADB), and the Government of Bangladesh today signed a technical assistance grant project agreement for $1.5 million to help Bangladesh trade more quickly, cheaply, and efficiently.
The Government ofJapan is providing the grant for the technical assistance project from the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction (JFPR) ―a fund established in May 2000 by the Government of Japan to provide grants and technical assistance for projects supporting poverty reduction and related social development activities. ADB will administer the technical assistanceproject.
Saifuddin Ahmed, Joint Secretary, Economic Relations Division (ERD) and Stefan Ekelund, Deputy Country Director for ADB’s Bangladesh Resident Mission, signed the loan agreement on behalf of Bangladesh and ADBrespectively.
The technicalassistance project will supplement efforts being made under the SASEC Trade Facilitation Project, which is being supported by ADB with a $21 million loan. The Project is helping Bangladeshto make its trade more efficient, transparent, and service-oriented.
The technicalassistance project will provide expertise and training for the improvement of border clearance processes in line with the Revised Kyoto Convention―an international accord providing standards and best practices on customsadministration. It will also support customs automation, and the development of national single window and trade portal to streamline and harmonize trade procedures in Bangladesh.
His Excellency Mr.Shiro Sadoshima, Ambassador of Japan to Bangladesh welcomed the initiative and wished success of the project. He also assured Japan’s continued assistance to improve trade and commerce in Bangladesh.
“Improving the trade environment in Bangladesh through measures that will make exporting and importing faster and less costly would enhance the country’s competitiveness and attractiveness to foreign investors,” said M. Teresa Kho, ADB Country Director for Bangladesh. “Trade facilitation is a key initiative under the ADB-supported South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) Program, in which Bangladesh is actively participating together with Bhutan, India, and Nepal.”
SASECis a project-based economic cooperation program aimed at enhancing cross-border connectivity and facilitating trade among its member countries. Since SASEC’s inception in 2001, 25 subregional projects in transport, energy, and trade facilitation with a combined total cost of almost $4.7 billion have been approved, with ADB financing of about $2.7 billion.
Complex documentation and customs clearance procedures are among the key bottlenecks to trade in Bangladesh. Lack of customs automation and availability of one-stop shop for trade-related information also constrain the growth of trade.Currently, it takes 25 days in Bangladesh to complete all procedures related to export, and 34 days for import.
ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducingpoverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members – 48 from the region.