Bangladesh

Market overview

Bangladesh has extended restrictions on public activities and movement across the country until 3 August in an effort to halt the spread of COVID-19, as the number of positive cases continues to increase.

Movement of vehicles, including trucks, lorries and cargo vessels, which are engaged in transporting commodities across highways and river routes, will continue to follow health guidelines issued by the Health Services Division. In approved regions, public transport, passenger vessels, trains and airplanes will be allowed to operate on a reduced scale and with a limited number of passengers onboard.

The Secretary of Health Services Division Abdul Mannan stated that Bangladesh would be among the first countries to have access to free COVID-19 vaccines due to the country's low per capita income. Once available, the government plans to distribute the vaccine gradually among 80 percent of the population.

In addition to the challenges of the pandemic, nearly one-third of Bangladesh has been hit by floods among the worst ever recorded in the country, which have affected over 3.3 million people.


Economy and trade

In its latest report, the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) noted that export earnings for Bangladesh fell by nearly 17% from US$40.5 billion in 2019 to US$33.7 billion in 2020. This is largely due to disruptions in supply chains, as well as a dip in demand from various markets following the COVID-19 pandemic.

International remittances in Bangladesh account for 7% of GDP, meaning the country relies significantly on its 10 million workers who are employed overseas. The World Bank has estimated that total remittances from Bangladesh workers are expected to fall by around 25% – from US$18 billion in 2019 to US$14 billion in 2020. Data released by the Bangladesh Bank reveals similar projections, which would result in significant losses for many households across the country.

Government support

The Parliament of Bangladesh has passed a national budget for the financial year 2020/21, totalling 568,000 crore (5.68 trillion) Bangladeshi taka. The budget aims to achieve a GDP growth of 5.2% – revised downwards from an original estimate of 8.2%, as a result of the current economic slowdown.

Bangladesh ranks 168th out of 190 countries according to the latest World Bank Ease of Doing Business 2020 report. This represents a jump from 176th in 2019. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has emphasized the importance of continued reforms focussed on improving digital services, including digitalisation of Government to Business (G2B) services aimed at enhancing the business climate in the country.

Supply chain, logistics and freight

Bangladesh's ports and customs services aimed at facilitating import and export shipments have improved significantly.

The Port of Chittagong, which handles 90% of Bangladesh's seaborne trade, is fully operational, although it continues to face problems clearing a pile-up of containers due to inadequate transport facilities.

The National Board of Revenue in Bangladesh is working out a comprehensive procedure to conduct trans-shipment of goods with India, Nepal and Bhutan across three routes - sea, land and air. This move follows the recently started transhipment route between India and Bangladesh.

Sector insights

Retail

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a change in consumer shopping behaviour. Increasingly, people are preferring to buy from supermarkets rather than smaller shops, as these are perceived to maintain greater hygiene and social distancing standards as well as provide better quality products. As a result, supermarket owners and customers have requested that government withdraw value added tax (VAT) to reduce the burden on consumers.

Infrastructure

The Bangladesh government has endorsed seven development projects at a combined cost of 30.75 billion taka. Among the projects, five are new schemes and two are revised.

Four specialised technology centres (TCs) in economic zones (EZs) will be established in the country, focusing on strengthening the country's profile in international trade within the leather, footwear, plastics and light-engineering sectors.


Additional resources

Below you can find information and contact details for other New Zealand government and international agencies regarding their response to COVID-19.

New Zealand Government agencies

Covid19.govt.nz
COVID-19 helpline for businesses
Business.govt.nz
New Zealand Customs
Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI)
New Zealand Export Credit (NZEC)
MFAT Export Helpline
MFAT Safetravel
Callaghan Innovation
Immigration
Ministry of Health
WorkSafe New Zealand
myNZTE

Global agencies

World Health Organization (WHO)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Contact NZTE

We're available to talk to you about any issues your export business is facing due to COVID-19.

For existing NZTE customers, please contact your New Zealand-based Customer Manager.

If you're unsure who to contact or haven't worked with us before, you can call NZTE on 0800 555 888 or email below and one of our Customer Advisors will help you.