Functions of Trade Bodies
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The private sector of Bangladesh has been promoting various activities for the promotion of exports from Bangladesh. The private sector is providing institutional support & advocacy; maintaining liaison with local & foreign trade related bodies; arranging meetings, seminars & conferences for creating awareness among entrepreneurs; disseminating trade related information and conducting training courses & workshops for developing skills of the businesspeople for increasing exports day by day.
There are 79 local & bi-national Chambers of Commerce & Industry and 256 trade & product related Associations. The Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) is the apex trade organization of the entire private sector. The national level Trade Associations, like- Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers & Exporters Association (BGMEA), Bangladesh Frozen Foods Exporters Association (BFFEA), etc. are promoting specific products and trade. The Chambers and the Trade Associations are performing various functions for the development of its member entrepreneurs including export promotion such as:
Exploration of Export Market
FBCCI and other leading Chambers and export related Associations are searching overseas export markets continuously. They are sending trade & investment delegations in different countries for enhancing country’s export and seeking foreign direct investment to establish export-oriented industries in the country. They also receive foreign delegations for introducing export products of the country and to sign export contracts with foreign importers.
The Chambers/Associations also take part in international trade fairs and exhibitions in different countries and also encourage the exporting firms to participate in those fairs/exhibitions.
Issuance of Certificate of Origin
For ensuring the origin of production of the export products the leading Chambers/Associations are issuing Certificate of Origin and authenticate documents for promotion of exports.
Export Performance of Bangladesh and Contribution of Trade Organizations:
Our major export sectors – woven garments, knitwear, frozen food, leather, jute goods, pharmaceuticals, chemical products, raw jute and tea are dominated by the private sector entrepreneurs with a successful marketing performance to the USA, Germany, UK, France, Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands, Canada, Spain, Sweden, Japan, Hong Kong, India, Denmark, Ireland, China, Pakistan, Turkey, Singapore, Iran and other countries. Out of the total foreign exchange earnings of US $ 10.53 billion in 2005-06, private enterprises represented more than 95% of the total export earning which has risen from 74.27% in 1990-91. In-spite of adverse global trade and economic scenario, Bangladesh export over the last few years has registered commendable growth thus enabling the country to meet her import bills more and more out of the export earnings. As a result of the considerable efforts the export earnings for the FY 2005-06, meeting 71.38% of our import bills, were the ever highest.
Activities of FBCCI and other trade bodies for the development of our export market:
Exchanging Dialogue with the Government on Different Policies:
The private sector trade bodies have been providing support in the formulation and implementation of Government Policies in respect of import, export, industry, investment, banking, insurance, fiscal measures, annual budget, etc. and provide inputs for the conferences relating to WTO, UNCTAD, SAFTA, BIMST-EC, ASEAN, RTA/FTA, BTA, TIFA, Kunming Initiative, BIBN, SASEC, etc.
Product and Management Development:
For ensuring quality export products the export related trade associations, like- BGMEA, BKMEA, Bangladesh Frozen Foods Exporters Association, Bangladesh Jute Mills Association, Bangladesh Leather & Leather Goods Manufactures and Exporters Associations, Bangladesh Aushad Shilpa Samity and other trade bodies including leading Chambers have been organizing training courses, seminars and workshops for awareness and developing knowledge & skill of the entrepreneurs & officials of exporting firms for the development of export products, quality requirements as well as their management system.
ISO management system and other recognized standards certifications are increasingly becoming a requirement for doing business in international market. For that purpose, FBCCI has formed a Quality Forum named “FBCCI Quality Forum”. This Quality Forum will provide assistance to business organizations in implementing ISO 9001 Quality Management System (QMS), ISO 14001 Environmental Management System (EMS), Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP), Food Safety Program, etc.
Dissemination of Export Information:
The private sector trade bodies are regularly disseminating export/import business information to their members by Electronic Communication, Fortnightly /Monthly Trade Bulletins, Monthly Reviews, Newsletters, Circulars, Notifications, Statistical data, etc. They also assist to develop export business through Internet/Webpages of their own.
Implementation of Development Projects:
The trade bodies have been preparing, implementing and evaluating different projects for entrepreneurship development and other export related matters with the technical & financial assistance of donor agencies, like- World Bank, ITC, UNDP, GTZ and ZDH of Germany and other local & foreign organizations.
Functions as a Business Forum for Exchanging Views Globally:
The private trade organizations are acting as the forums for exchanging views on trade and economy as well as export development among different Chamber/Association members, Government agencies and local/foreign and international organizations. They are conducting meetings, conferences, seminars/workshops/symposia, etc. for the promotion of country’s export as well as trade, commerce and investment. They also conduct research on burning policy issues including export promotion.
Trade Agreements with overseas Chambers of Commerce and Industry:
The FBCCI and other leading Chambers/Associations have signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with many overseas Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Regional & International Chambers and other business organizations for promotion of bilateral trade and investment.
Some important issues for Bangladeshi Exporters:
In spite of government support a number of impediments remain to the growth of the private sector contribution to export. The major ones are the lack of long-term capital availability through banking channels; lack of long-term capital in the capital market / bond market; dumping of products largely by smuggling; inadequate support of infrastructure like utilities, specifically power, port services, including land ports, high transportation costs and inefficient telecommunications system, high-interest rates in the banking sector; lack of credible statistics; lack of an appropriate education system to support an industrial economy; slow process of deregulation and privatisation; lack of industry friendly social and political environment; lack of local technology and lack of research and development.