Chittagong, 04 November 2023: Speakers at a workshop in Chittagong has called for speedy roll out of National Single Window for reducing the time and cost of doing business in the country.

Simultaneously, they have called for formulation of national logistics policy and decreasing the release time of goods from ports through increased automation.

Economic Relations Division (ERD) organized the workshop styled ‘Trade Facilitation for Improving the Competitiveness: Challenges and Way Forward’ in collaboration with the Chittagong district administration.

Senior Secretary of ERD Ms. Sharifa Khan graced the occasion as chief guest while Vice Chairman of Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) Mr. A. H. M. Ahsan, Divisional Commissioner of Chattogram Mr. Md. Tofael Islam and Member of the Chattogram Port Authority Mr. Md. Habibur Rahman attended the event as special guests.  Deputy Commissioner of Chattogram Mr. Mr. Abul Bashar Mohammed Fakhruzzaman chaired the workshop.

Trade facilitation ensures simplification, modernization as well as harmonization of rules, regulations, and procedures relating to trade. It reduces the time and cost of trade transactions, which in turn enhances competitiveness. An improved trade facilitation system is critical for significantly enhancing the overall trade performance.

It has long been observed that Bangladesh needs to employ all possible trade facilitation measures for augmenting the competitiveness and to overcome the probable negative impacts due to the gradual loss of the Duty-Free Quota-Free (DFQF) market access after the country’s graduation from the Least Developed Country (LDC) category.

In this context, the workshop was organized to discuss the current situation of the trade facilitation system of the country; to discuss the existing situation of the transportation, port facilities, and other trade logistics issues; to discuss the challenges and opportunities of improving trade facilitation of the country; and to discuss the recommendations and way forwards for improving trade facilitation system in order to enhance overall competitiveness of the trade and economy.

Speaking on the occasion, Senior Secretary of ERD Ms. Sharifa Khan underscored the importance of greater coordination between relevant agencies for improving the trade facilitation measures in the country.

Vice Chairman of Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) Mr. A. H. M. Ahsan, in his speech, put emphasis on enhanced use of online platforms for easing the export and import related procedures.

Divisional Commissioner of Chattogram Mr. Md. Tofael Islam expressed his hope that recommendations coming from the workshop would provide important inputs into relevant policy making.

Member of the Chattogram Port Authority Mr. Md. Habibur Rahman said that enhancing the capacity of our seaports can transform Bangladesh into a connectivity hub between the South Asia and South-East Asia.

Deputy Commissioner of Chattogram Mr. Mr. Abul Bashar Mohammed Fakhruzzaman observed that Bangladeshi exporters can double their capacity by utilizing the Matarbari deep seaport and Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Tunnel.

Additional Secretary of ERD and the Project Director of SSGP Mr. Farid Aziz delivered the welcome remarks of the event. Mr. Aziz, in his welcome remarks, emphasized on sensitizing the local private sector representatives, especially the export-oriented industries about the opportunities to be created by LDC graduation of the country.

Component Manager of Support to Sustainable Graduation Project of ERD Dr. Mostafa Abid Khan delivered the keynote presentation of the event.

Commissioner of Chattogram Customs House Mr. M. Faizur Rahman, President of Chattogram Chamber of Commerce & Industry Mr. Omar Hazzaz, Chairman of Bangladesh Shipping Agents’ Association Mr. Syed Mohammad Arif and Senior Vice President of Bangladesh Freight Forwarders Association Mr. Mr. Amirul Islam Chowdury also spoke during the event as designated discussant.

Officials from ERD and SSGP, officials from the district administration as well as representatives from the private sector and civil society organizations participated in the workshop.