The government is formulating a new export policy for the next three fiscal years to provide greater room for local exports to cope with the ever-challenging global market scenario.
"Process is on to devise a mid-term export policy for giving the country's earnings from merchandise trade a further boost," a senior Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) official said.
Diversification of both product and market bases will be high on the agenda of the proposed three-year export policy, the official said. He further noted: "It will be a comprehensive guideline for the development of the country's export sector."
The new export policy is to be formulated, taking into consideration the current global trading arrangements, duty and tariff structures, bank financing, infrastructure facilities and market compositeness, the official added.
The Bureau has almost finalised the draft policy for the fiscal years between 2006-'07 and 2008-'09, the official said, adding that the draft is expected to be placed before the Ministry of Commerce within the next couple of weeks.
The ministry in consultation with the country's trade bodies and line government agencies will finalise the draft before tabling it to the cabinet committee for its approval.
"We are preparing the policy in line with the suggestions of the country's trade bodies and business associations to make it more effective and acceptable," another EPB official told the FE.
The country's major business associations including the apex trade body - Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) - have already placed their respective suggestions to the EPB.
Earlier, the Bureau sought recommendations and opinions from them for the new export policy.
Responding to a query, an EPB official said majority of the trade bodies and exporters have asked for reduction of bank interest rate, enhancement of direct cash subsidy on exports and lowered utility service tariffs for gas electricity and port usage.
They, however, demanded continuation of the existing tax-holiday facilities for some more years and rationalisation of the country's tariff structures and improvement of basic infrastructures like roads, ports and power, officials said.
They further said the EPB is trying to evolve such a policy that 'reasonably reflects' the demands and suggestions of the stakeholders.
On the demand for direct cash subsidy, an official said, "Since such facility contradicts the existing World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules, we are considering options to provide some indirect incentives in terms of utility services to exporters."
Terming the country's limited export basket and its high dependence on some selected markets as major impediments to expansion of local merchandise trade, the EPB is also considering necessary policy measurers to improve the situation.
Considering the situation, the authority is recommending some extra facility to the country's non-traditional and primary items in order to help diversify the export basket, an official said without further elaboration.
Besides, the EPB is laying special focus on holding increased number of product exhibitions and single country fairs abroad to help expand market base.