Improving Trade and Business Enabling Environment in Bangladesh

Clea McElwain
May 6, 2021

Through the Feed the Future Bangladesh Trade Activity, IDG is working to effectively implement the WTO TFA and related obligations under the World Customs Organization Revised Kyoto Convention to create a strong business enabling environment. The Feed the Future Bangladesh Trade Activity is engaging with the Ministry of Commerce National Committee for Trade Facilitation (NCTF) and the National Board of Revenue (NBR) to assess the status of all agencies in implementing the TFA and provide recommendations for improving their effectiveness. To support the implementation of the WTO TFA, the Feed the Future Bangladesh Trade Activity has also identified gaps between current Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) status and international standards and has recommended amendments to enhance and digitize the AEO program for mutual recognition.

In working to improve the business enabling environment, the Feed the Future Bangladesh Trade Activity aims to address weaknesses identified in the World Bank’s ‘Ease of Doing Business’ report (e.g., business environment for starting and operating a business, Trading across borders, etc.). The Activity works to improve the ease of doing business by simplifying and digitizing Government to Business (G2B) services and engaging women-led groups to identify the barriers women face in doing business. The Activity engages with ministries and government agencies to map and streamline regulatory requirements and administrative processes and reduce unnecessary steps involved in each stage of setting up and running a business. The goal is to enhance the business enabling environment by decreasing the time, cost, and number of visits for G2B services. The Feed the Future Trade Activity aims to enable businesses to develop and grow more efficiently and competitively, as well as encourage economic growth and domestic and foreign investments.

Recognizing the challenges of achieving sustainable improvements in the Bangladeshi investment environment, IDG has also conducted a political economic analysis (PEA) to ensure that the Feed the Future Bangladesh Trade Activity activities are tailored to Bangladeshi structures, institutions, and stakeholders. IDG follows the USAID Applied PEA Field Guide, with a special focus on stakeholder analysis to identify all relevant sectors and understand their interest and power relationships around trade facilitation and improvements to the business enabling environment.