A new web portal, ‘Bangladesh Trade Portal’, the first of its kind in South Asia, was officially launched here on Sunday to make export and import easier serving the business community with a one stop point of information, reports UNB. Hosted by the Ministry of Commerce with support from the Trade and Competitiveness Global practice, World Bank Group, the portal provides an accessible, logical, helpful window for traders to access important regulatory and procedural information needed to export and import. Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed launched the trade portal as the chief guest which was completed in only eight months. President of Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) Abdul Matlub Ahmad and Programme Manager, Trade and Competitiveness Global Practice Group, Bangladesh M Masrur Reaz also spoke at the function as special guests, held with Senior Commerce Ministry Secretary Hedayetullah Al Mammon in the chair. The Commerce Minister said the Digital Bangladesh campaign is no longer a dream rather it is a reality today. “We could prove it today as we’re connected with global trade world digitally.” He said Bangladesh is marching ahead on all fronts and the launching of the portal is a sign of Bangladesh’s advancement towards digital world. Tofail said the Commerce Ministry will soon sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the apex trade body FBCCI to keep updating the web portal with the latest information. He described the occasion as a ‘matter of pride’, and a ‘new horizon’ has been opened through the launching of the portal. Matlub Ahmad said the FBCCI is ready to make the efforts sustainable and will work closely with the ministry. “It (portal) will have to be updated daily. We don’t want to see only old information.” He said the platform will bring immense benefits for those who want to do business in Bangladesh. Bangladesh Trade Portal is an important step for the government towards improving the ‘predictability and transparency’ of the country’s trading laws and processes, said a statement distributed among journalists in the launching ceremony held at Sonargaon Hotel. This is in line with the government’s commitment to facilitate information sharing, the 7th Five Year Plan which focuses on accelerating economic growth, as well as compliance with Article 1 of the Trade Facilitation Agreement with the World Trade Organisation. Operable in both Bangla and English, the portal stores information relating to existing trade regulations and procedures, including but not limited to laws, administrative procedures, guidance notes, applicable fees, forms, licenses, permits and penalties applicable in case of breach. The wide variety of portal’s content includes overview of Bangladesh’s economy, business start-up process, import and exp[ort guide, customs’ terminology, as well as information on special-up process, export processing zones, cross-border trade and GSP automation. The portal also offers selection of websites of international organisations or institutions that can bring further support to overseas expansion, and enable exporters to undertake trade potential analysis, desk research and market surveys. Bangladesh Trade Portal seeks to encourage overseas investors that are interested to trade with Bangladesh and provide them with market and regulatory information to help them export to and import from Bangladesh. The Commerce Ministry invited the business community, research institutions, community and the public at large to log on to the Bangladesh Trade Portal and make the best use of it. The portal will improve with time as it continues to get regularly updated to deliver a better service to the users.
source : the daily star