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Bangladesh-UK Economic Relations

 

For Bangladesh, the UK has, of late, emerged as the largest bilateral development partner and for the UK, Bangladesh is the second largest recipient of development assistance, next only to India. UK’s development programme has been a core area of international cooperation for Bangladesh and they are growing consistently in size and diversity. Total UK assistance to Bangladesh since independence has been around £3 billion. Good development performance has been an inspiring factor for the UK to continually increase its country ODA to Bangladesh through the Department for International Development (DFID).

In 2009, UK development commitment was $216m which increased to around $ 250 for 2010. Lately, the Department for International Development (DFID) announced that it would spend £1 billion ( equivalent to $1.66 billion)  in Bangladesh for the period 2011-2015.  It has committed to spend an average of £250 million ( equivalent to $ 415 million)  per year for the period 2011-2015. It is worthwhile to note that despite the global financial melt-down and world-wide reduction in aid flow, UK development assistance has increased significantly.

Good development performance has been an inspiring factor for the UK to continually increase its country ODA to Bangladesh. Over the past  years, the UK’s development assistance was aimed at poverty alleviation, rural infrastructure development, primary education, health, nutrition, population, sanitation, safe drinking water, urban development, support to private sector infrastructure building and institutional reform. The current policy orientation of DFID’s development assistance programme goes well with the present priorities of Bangladesh for her socio-economic development.

Bangladesh will remain in the group of twenty-seven countries where Britain will in future have bilateral aid programmes.

Trade:

Trade, investment and broader economic relations between the two countries have expanded in depth and dimension over the years. The UK is the 3rd single largest destination for Bangladesh’s exports, after the United States and Germany. Over the years Bangladesh’s exports to the UK enjoys a steady annual growth.   Total Bangladesh export to the UK in 2010-11 was US$ 2.001 billion,    33% higher than the previous year.

UK-Bangladesh trade statistics are encouraging in terms of volume and growth. This may be attributed to, inter alia, competitive edge in quality and price; duty free access under EBA (Everything But Arms) scheme; enhanced compliance (specially in the RMG sector) with standards; strong backward linkage in knitwear and the High Commission’s regular initiatives.

Export items from Bangladesh to the UK also include knitwear, woven garments, shrimps, home textile, bi-cycle, light engineering products, vegetables, frozen fish, ceramic tableware, and jute yarn and jute goods. Import items from the UK include power-generating and industrial machinery and equipments, professional and scientific equipments, textile fibers, medicinal and pharmaceutical products, dyeing, tanning and colouring materials, electrical machinery and appliances and chemical materials and products.

A focused, sustained effort is needed to project the fact that Bangladesh has many more products to offer besides the traditional items that the UK presently imports from it. The UK may add to its import basket from Bangladesh, for example, ceramics, pharmaceuticals and computer software, as well as medium and small sized ships, an emerging manufacturing product of Bangladesh. Some European countries including Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands are currently procuring sea-worthy vessels from Bangladesh.

UK Bangladesh Trade Statistics

(In million US $)

Year
Export to UK
Import from UK
Balance
1997-1998
440.19
178.39
(+) 261.80
1998-1999
491.34
151.88
(+) 339.46
1999-2000
500.05
225.67
(+) 274.02
2000-2001
594.38
222.81
(+) 372.02
2001-2002
648.24
173.61
(+) 474.63
2002-2003
777.05
169.00
(+) 604.05
2003-2004
898.21
216.38
(+) 681.83
2004-2005
944.18
285.91
(+) 658.27
2005-2006
1048.62
325.42
(+) 723.20
2006-2007
1173.95
250.00
(+) 923.95
2007-2008
1374.03
170.00
(+) 1204.03

2008-2009

        1502.00       
     2009-2010 1508.00      
     2010-2011 2001.00    

 

Investment:

UK has emerged as one of the biggest sources of FDI for Bangladesh. British investment registered in Bangladesh in 2010 was to the tune of USD 105.6 million, elevating UK to the second top position among countries investing in Bangladesh. Major areas of British investment in Bangladesh include Energy, Power generation, oil and gas, tea garden, financial and other service sectors.

Some of the major British concerns present in Bangladesh include Aventis, Berger Paints, BOC Bangladesh, British American Tobacco, Cairn Energy, Duncan Brothers, GEC, GlaxoSmithKline, GCM Energy, HSBC, James Finlay, Meghna Energy, P&O Nedlloyd, Price Waterhouse Coopers, Reckitt Benckiser, Standard Chartered, Tetley, ACI, Tullow Bangladesh, Unilever and World-Tel.

Full potential of British investment in Bangladesh is yet to be exploited. It needs to be indicated that Bangladesh is now widely billed as one of the most attractive investment destinations in the region. The country has liberalized its economy to an extent that has surpassed many of its neighbours. She offers attractive incentives to foreign investors including foreign ownership without limit, legal protection to investors against nationalization and expropriation, generous tax holidays and unrestricted repatriation of capital and profits. Bangladesh is also home to the most inexpensive, productive and easily trainable labour force. Besides, Bangladesh’s geographical location with well-established connectivity to the region, makes it a strategic location for foreign investors.

Bangladesh’s standing now is among the first 60 economies of the world. The Euro-Monitor International has placed Bangladesh among the next 11 emerging economies; Goldman Sachs have included us in their list of "Next Eleven"; J.P. Morgan, in their "Frontier Five"; and Standard & Poor (S&P) and Moody's have placed Bangladesh ahead of all South Asian nations, except India. Even Japanese economic observers have praised our sound fiscal and monetary management. We hope the investors will be encouraged to take advantage of the prevailing investment opportunities in Bangladesh.

 

Remittances:

United Kingdom has been one of the top sources of remittance. At present, UK is then 5th largest source of remittance. Actual flow of remittance from UK in the period 2009-2011 are as follow:

            2008-09                       US$ 788 million

            2009-2010                 US$  827 million

            2010-2011                   US$  890 million