Introducing Bangladesh

Bangladesh is the 55th largest export economy in the world. In 2015, Bangladesh exported $35.7B and imported $38.3B, resulting in a negative trade balance of $2.6B. In 2015 the GDP of Bangladesh was $195B and its GDP per capita was $3.34k.

The top exports of Bangladesh are Non-Knit Men’s Suits ($5.6B), Knit T-shirts ($5.28B), Knit Sweaters ($4.12B), Non-Knit Women’s Suits ($3.66B) and Non-Knit Men’s Shirts ($2.52B), using the 1992 revision of the HS (Harmonized System) classification. Its top imports are Heavy Pure Woven Cotton ($1.33B), Refined Petroleum ($1.25B), Light Pure Woven Cotton($1.12B), Raw Cotton ($1.01B) and Wheat ($900M).

The top export destinations of Bangladesh are the United States ($6.19B), Germany ($5.17B), the United Kingdom ($3.53B), France ($2.37B) and Spain($2.29B). The top import origins are China ($13.9B), India ($5.51B), Singapore ($2.22B), Hong Kong ($1.47B) and Japan ($1.36B).

Bangladesh borders India and Burma.

Bangladesh shipped US$38.6 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2016, up by 148.1% since 2009 when the Great Recession kicked in and up by 4.5% from 2015 to 2016.

Bangladesh’s top 10 exports are highly concentrated accounting for 96.9% of the overall value of its global shipments.

Based on statistics from the International Monetary Fund’s World Economic Outlook Database, Bangladesh’s total Gross Domestic Product amounted to $686.8 billion as of April 2017. Therefore, exports represent about 5.6% of total Bangladeshi economic output.

Given Bangladesh’s population of 156.2 million people, its total $38.6 billion in 2016 exports translates to roughly $250 for every resident in that country.

Bangladesh’s unemployment rate was an estimated 4.9% in 2016 same as during 2016, according to the Central Intelligence Agency’s World Factbook.

Bangladesh’s Top 10 Exports

The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Bangladeshi global shipments during 2016. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Bangladesh.

1. Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: US$16.8 billion (43.4% of total exports)
2. Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $16.7 billion (43.2%)
3. Miscellaneous textiles, worn clothing: $977.7 million (2.5%)
4. Footwear: $901.4 million (2.3%)
5. Paper yarn, woven fabric: $660.9 million (1.7%)
6. Fish: $612.5 million (1.6%)
7. Headgear: $278.9 million (0.7%)
8. Leather/animal gut articles: $255.8 million (0.7%)
9. Raw hides, skins not furskins, leather: $208.5 million (0.5%)
10.Vehicles : $86.1 million (0.2%)

Leather and animal gut articles were the fastest-growing among the top 10 export categories, up by 1,205% for the 7-year period starting in 2009 and led by suitcases, handbags and camera cases.

In second place for improving export sales was headgear which was appreciated 599.2%.

Footwear posted the third-fastest gain in value up by 364.5%.

Vehicles was the sole declining category among the top 10 Bangladeshi exports, down by -40.4% from 2009 to 2016.

Highest Priority Sectors

  • Agro-processed products.
  • Light engineering products (including auto-parts and bicycles).
  • Footwear and leather products.
  • Pharmaceutical products.
  • Software and ICT products.
  • Home textile.
  • The Sea-bound Ship Building Industries.
  • Toiletries Products

The following types of Bangladeshi product shipments represent positive net exports or a trade balance surplus. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports.

In a nutshell, net exports is the amount by which foreign spending on a home country’s goods or services exceeds or lags the home country’s spending on foreign goods or services.

1. Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: US$16.7 billion (Up by 157.9% since 2009)
2. Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $16.4 billion (Up by 208.7%)
3. Miscellaneous textiles, worn clothing: $920.7 million (Up by 80.1%)
4. Footwear: $710.7 million (Up by 446.9%)
5. Fish: $586 million (Up by 55.7%)
6. Paper yarn, woven fabric: $509.5 million (Up by 9%)
7. Headgear: $261.2 million (Up by 593.2%)
8. Leather/animal gut articles: $152.1 million (Up by 1,729%)
9. Raw hides, skins not furskins, leather: $92.5 million (Down by -32.3%)
10. Tobacco, manufactured substitutes: $70 million (Up by 102.8%)

Bangladesh has highly positive net exports in the international trade of apparel. In turn, these cashflows indicate Bangladesh’s strong competitive advantages under the two leading product categories.

Export Facilities 

  • Use of Foreign Exchange Earned from Export.
  • Funding for Export.
  • Export Credit.
  • Exemption from Insurance Premium.
  • Easing VAT return on Export-facilitating Services.
  • Reduced Air fare for the export of specially privileged products including Fruits and Vegetables.


Export Facilities (Cont.)

  • Research and Development.
  • Encouragement and Facilities for Exports Based on Sub-Contracting.
  • Issue of Multiple Entry Visa.
  • Foreign Trade Related Training.
  • Arrangement of International Trade Fairs and Single Country Exhibitions
  • Shipment of Products.
  • Direct Air-Booking System.
  • Establishment of Management Information System (MIS).

Bangladesh incurred a -$1.9 billion trade deficit during 2016 down by -75.8% from -$7.7 billion in 2009.

Below are exports from Bangladesh that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Bangladesh’s goods trail Bangladeshi importer spending on foreign products.

1. Machinery including computers: -US$5.3 billion (Up by 183.8% since 2009)
2. Cotton: -$4.6 billion (Up by 52.2%)
3. Electrical machinery, equipment: -$3 billion (Up by 114.1%)
4. Iron, steel: -$2 billion (Up by 74%)
5. Mineral fuels including oil: -$2 billion (Down by -24%)
6. Plastics, plastic articles: -$1.7 billion (Up by 147.1%)
7. Vehicles : -$1.6 billion (Up by 127.7%)
8. Manmade staple fibers: -$1.5 billion (Up by 122.1%)
9. Animal/vegetable fats, oils, waxes: -$1.4 billion (Down by -21%)
10. Knit or crochet fabric: -$980.1 million (Up by 554.8%)

Bangladesh has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits for machinery including computers, notably knitting and stitch-bonding machines.

Best Partners of Countries

  • United states: 24%
  • Germany: 15.3%
  • United Kingdom: 10%
  • France: 7.4%
  • The Netherlands: 5.5%
  • Italy: 4.5%
  • Spain: 4.2%

 Export of Services

  • ICT based activities.
  • Construction business.
  • Recreation related activities.
  • Health service activities e.g. hospital, clinic and nursing services.
  • Hotel and tourism based services.
  • Telecommunication.
  • Banking activities.
  • Legal and professional services.
  • Education service etc. Prohibited Export Goods
  • Jute and Shan seeds.
  • Wheat.
  • Any kind of live animal.
  • Fire arms, ammunition and related materials.
  • Archeological relics.
  • Human skeleton, blood plasma, or anything produced from human beings or human blood.
  • All shrimps except chilled, frozen and processed ones.
  • Onion.
  • Cane, wood, wood logs/ thick pieces of wood (except handicrafts made from these materials).
  • All types of frogs (alive or dead) and frog legs. List of Conditional Export Products
  • Urea fertilizer produced in all factories except KAFCO can be exported with the prior approval of the Ministry of Industries.
  • Entertainment programs, music, drama, films, documentary films etc can be exported in the form of audio cassettes, video cassettes, CDs, DVDs etc subject to no objection from the Ministry of Information.
  • Petroleum and petroleum products produced from natural gas (such as furnace oil, lubricant oil, bitumen, condensate) can be exported under no objection from the Energy and Mineral Resources Division.

Shipping & Logistics fee/Charges

Fees / Charges

There are various types of fees and charges that relate to trade (both import and export) activities. However, such fees and charges are not imposed or collected by a single agency (e.g. Customs), as these fall under the jurisdiction of different border agencies / GoB agencies involved in trade related activities.

Fees and Charges by Customs:

Various fees and charges imposed by Customs on or in connection with importation or exportation include -

a)      Document processing fee (for automated Customs assessment),

b)      PSI services charge (in case of goods imported under Pre-shipment Inspection System): It is imposed under Section 25C of the Customs Act, 1969. The rate for such charge is 1% of the value of goods. 

c)      Merchant overtime charge (in case of overtime duties by Customs officials),

d)      Container scanning charge,

e)      Transshipment fees: It is imposed under Section 125 of the Customs Act, 1969,

f)      Customs fee on transhipment under Inland Waterways Protocol between India and Bangladesh (To download the order containing fee info, click here)

g)      Fees for supplying copy of document: It is imposed under Section 204 of the Customs Act, 1969

h)      Fees for supplying Customs information: It is imposed under Section 204A of the Customs Act, 1969

i)      Fees for amendment of documents: It is imposed under Section 205 of the Customs Act, 1969

j)      Fees for amendment of errors, etc.: It is imposed under Section 206 of the Customs Act, 1969

Fees and Charges by port operators:

There are different port operators working at airports, sea ports and land ports. Biman Bangladesh Airlines manages/handles the airport cargo operations while Bangladesh Land Port Authority handles goods movement at the land ports throughout the country. The cargo operations at Chittagong and Mongla sea ports are handled by Chittagong Port Authority and Mongla Port Authority respectively.

Types of fees and charges imposed and collected by various government agencies on import, export and trnsport are highlighted below. 

Usually Biman Bangladesh Airlines charges importers and exporters for using airport warehouse facilities. In addition, Biman charges Forklift fee for goods weighing more than 100 kgs. It also charges DGR fee, an extra amount ($100) for storing of Dangerous Goods.

There are two cargo terminal buildings at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport for import and export facilities of cargo: Import Terminal and Cargo Village (export).  For information on fees/charges imposed by Biman for imported goods, contact Import Section, Biman Cargo Complex, Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport, Dhaka [Telephone: +880 2 8901500-19 (import), Ext.-25].

For charges/fees on export goods, please contact Cargo village (export), Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport, Dhaka [Telephone: +880 2 8901500-19 (Export), Ext.-2507].

For more details, visit

The CPA imposes and collects various fees and charges for services and facilities offered to shipping companies, importers, exporters and other stakeholders at the Chittagong sea port. Such fees and charges include – landing charge, port handling charge (for port functions), port demurrage charge (in case of non-clearance after a certain period), river dues/anchorage charge, pilotage charge etc.

For information on charges/fees collected by the CPA, visit

The MPA imposes and collects various fees and charges for services and facilities offered to shipping companies, importers, exporters and other stakeholders at the Mongla sea port. Such fees and charges include – landing charge, port handling charge (for port functions), port demurrage charge (in case of non-clearance after a certain period), river dues/anchorage charge, pilotage charge etc.

For information on charges/fees collected by the MPA visit

For details on charges/fees, consult the Mongla Port Authority Notification number nil, dated 26 Nov, 2013, which can be accessed via the MPA website ( )

The BLPA imposes and collects various fees and charges for services and facilities offered to its stakeholders at all the land ports in the country. Such fees/charges include warehouse and open yard space charges, berthing charges, water supply charges, river dues, landing charges, other charges.

For detailed information on charges/fees collected by the BLPA, visit (Benapole land portother land ports)

Fees and Charges by CCI&E:

The Office of the Chief Controller of Imports and Exports (CCI&E) issues registration certificates to importers, exporters and indentors, export permits, export-cum-import permits, import permits on returnable basis, import permits and clearance permits and so forth.

Importers, exporters and indentors are subject to initial registration fee and renewal fees for permits. They are also required to pay surcharge for failing to pay renewal fees within the time limit. Importers are classified into six categories on the basis of overall annual import for the purpose of registration and renewal fee. All Exporters and Indentors are to pay same fees without any categorization.

For details on various charges/fees collected by CCI&E, consult Chapter three of Import Policy Order, 2015-2018, and visit

Fees and Charges by Drugs

The Directorate General of Drug Administration (DGDA) under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare administers the import of drugs and raw materials and API (Active Pharmaceuticals Ingredients) for drugs. The DGDA imposes and collects fees and charges for such regulatory services. For example, a fee of Tk. 550 is required with the application for approval of Block List.

For detailed on fees/chargescollected by the DGDA, visit the DGDA website (

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has published new fees for regulatory services of the DGDA in May 2013 ( ).

Fees and Charges by BSTI

Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution (BSTI) has set mandatory certification marking for 55 items at import stage (Paragraph 26 (28) of the Import Policy Order, 2015-2018). Importers need to submit certificate from the BSTI to the Customs Authority to clear these products from Customs, if their consignments do not have certificates from accredited laboratories from the exporting countries.

For detailed information on certification fees collected by the BSTI, please visit BSTI website ( For comprehensive information on BSTI certification fees (for Imported Products brought under mandatory certification before Customs clearance), the following Regulation may be collected from the BSTI office:

BSTI Regulation 1989 and Amendment SRO- 230-Law/2009 dated 12 October, 2009.

Fees and Charges by  Plant Quarantine Wing

The Government from time to time, determine fees and charges for inspection, examination or treatment of plants or plant products, beneficial organisms or packing materials and may also determine the procedure of collecting such fees and charges. The Plant Quarantine Wing of the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) under the Ministry of Agriculture collects such fees/charges.

For information on such charges/fees, visit the DAE website ( ).

Fees and Charges by Atomic Energy Commission

Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission ensures that the relevant imported goods (food for human consumption) are within the acceptable limits of radioactivity through conducting radiation test.

For details on radiation test charge, visit the Atomic Energy Commission website ( ).