- One cold chain each at Chattogram Sea Port, Shahjalal International Airport
- Creation of database on different exporters and importers
- Developing capacities of local testing labs to make them int'l standard
- Online-based certification system
- Quick inspection, release of imports
- Legal, infrastructural reform for agro-based products
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) will invest $27 million in Bangladesh to increase its exports and facilitate imports of agricultural and agro-processed products.
The funding will go into infrastructural development under the USDA-funded Bangladesh Trade Facilitation Project.
Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi inaugurated the project at a hotel in Dhaka yesterday. It will be implemented by September 2025.
The project will emphasise creating one cold chain each at the Chattogram port and the Shahjalal International Airport.
A cold chain is a low temperature-controlled supply chain, usually with an uninterrupted series of refrigerated production, storage and distribution activities.
Exports of all types of agricultural products, perishable and non-perishable, can be kept in cold storage quickly if any delays or problems arise.
Additionally, to facilitate the import-export process, automation, online certification, strengthening of risk-based product exemption process, creation of a database of importers and exporters of different countries and commercialisation of domestic products will be given importance under the project.
Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi said the project would play an important role in ensuring the position of Bangladeshi products in the international market.
The project will also work on legal and infrastructural reforms of the trade system to facilitate the marketing of agricultural products and agro-processing products, develop testing methods to ensure product quality, and make structural changes in the release of risk-based products.
Earl R Miller, US Ambassador to Bangladesh, who was present at the occasion, said the US government would continue to support the Bangladesh government's efforts to create a business-friendly trade environment and reform the infrastructure needed to ensure international quality of Bangladeshi products.
Secretary of the commerce ministry Tapan Kanti Ghosh in his speech said that the implementation of the Trade Facilitation Agreement requires technical assistance from the development partners.
The USDA will provide technical assistance and the activities of the project will be coordinated by the Ministry of Commerce.
In a presentation, it was said that several organisations, including the Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution (BSTI), Bangladesh Safe Food Authority (BFSA), Bangladesh Customs and Department of Agricultural Extension will be part of the project.
The capabilities of the testing labs of these organisations will be taken to international standards by developing those and improving the quality of product testing.
Certification complications for export or import will also be eliminated. The certification system will be online-based in order to cut down waiting time for traders.
Apart from this, quick inspection and release of imported products will also be implemented.
Furthermore, the commerce ministry will create a completely separate database for importers and exporters of agriculture and agro-processing products.
The database will have information on exporters and importers of various countries, the different product demands of different countries, and information pertaining to import and export regulations.
Details on how to get product certification and lab tests done quickly will also be provided.