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Bangladesh government may appoint business consultants in markets abroad

Published 02 Apr,2021 via The Financial Express - The government has initiated a process to appoint business development consultants in different countries to help boost exports through diversification of the market, officials said.

They said such consultants would be posted first in two developed countries - the USA and Japan - to find export opportunities there during the Covid-19 pandemic and post-pandemic periods.

Based on the outcome, the government will then appoint the consultants gradually to a good number of developed countries including UK and the Middle East (traditionally called the Far East), they added.

The Ministry of Commerce (MoC), Information and Communication Technology Division and Business Promotion Council will jointly work on implementing the programme amid a declining trend of export earnings due to the pandemic.

The country's export earnings during the first eight months (July-February) of the current fiscal year (FY2020-21) declined by 1.45 per cent to US$ 25.86 billion as compared to the corresponding period of last FY, according to Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) data.

Bangladesh fetched nearly $26.24 billion through shipment of goods during the first eight months of FY 2019-20.

In February 2021, the export earnings dropped by nearly 4.0 per cent from that of the last year's corresponding month. In the following month, March 2020, Bangladesh reported the first case of Covid-19 infection.

The Hi-Tech Park Authority will prepare the terms of reference (ToR) for the consultants, who are expected to help boost exports to different countries.

They would also work in accordance with the government guideline, said a high official at the MoC, adding that the ministry has already reviewed the issue several times internally.

It is also reviewing different issues like working areas, the cost for appointment of consultants and outcomes of earlier appointment of sales consultant to Silicon Valley, USA.

Earlier, the ministry had asked the Business Promotion Council (BPC) to submit a detailed report in this regard.

There is no positive result in expanding the country's export market although the government had appointed sales consultant to Silicon Valley, USA in 2002 under a project, a BPC official said.

The consultants will be based in Los Angeles (USA) and Tokyo (Japan), and will work under the supervision of commercial councillors in the respective countries.

"We want to increase the volume of our existing export earnings from the countries in a couple of years," a senior official of the commerce ministry told the FE.

The commerce ministry has already taken various measures to increase the country's export earnings. It has also taken initiatives to sign FTAs (Free Trade Agreements) and PTAs (Preferential Trading Agreements) with different countries, he mentioned.

Bangladesh and Bhutan has already signed PTA. The government is sincerely working on exploring new business opportunities in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic across the globe, said an official.

It has already assigned the commercial councillors and first secretaries (commercial) of Bangladesh missions abroad to identify new export opportunities for the pandemic and post-pandemic periods.

At present, Bangladesh has 57 missions and 18 commercial wings abroad, according to the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) of Bangladesh.

The government has fixed a US$48 billion export target for the current fiscal year 2020-21. Of the amount, some US$41 billion has been fixed for goods export and $7 billion for the services export.

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