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Ban slapped on rice, sugar, oil exports in Bangladesh

Publication Date : 25-02-2013


The Bangladeshi government has issueda ban on exports of rice, sugar, soybean oil and palm oil for the next three years, according to a new export policy approved Sunday.

The new policy will also enable drugmakers to send samples worth up to US$60,000 a year to prospective overseas buyers to boost pharmaceutical exports.

The amount is twice the current limit which expired in June last year.

Under the existing policy, pharmaceutical samples worth up to 5 per cent of the value of a letter of credit (LC) can be sent each time.

But as per the new policy for 2012-2015, the limit has been increased to the smaller denomination of US$10,000 or 10 per cent of the value of each LC.

The policy was designed after consulting with the apex trade body - the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry - and various other chambers and associations, banks and insurance companies, said a commerce ministry official.

The new policy had a provision for providing utility services to export-oriented industries on a priority basis.

Exports of petroleum products, which now need clearance from the Energy and Mineral Resources Division, could be done without a green signal from the division under the new policy.

The number of thrust sectors, too, has been raised; plastic wares, furniture, terry towel and tourism were added to the list to bring the total number of such sectors to 10.

The list of special development sectors, for example the sectors with high potential, was reviewed in the policy as well, with many sectors from the current list asking to be taken off, said the official.

The list of such sectors, as per the new policy, would comprise light engineering, jute, electric and electronics, weaving, frozen fish, printing and packaging, rubber, cosmetics and toiletries, ceramics and unpolished diamond jewellery.

The official said the new policy also encourages the use of modern technology.

The policy provides for setting up a databank under the 'national portal' containing detailed breakdown of the commodities produced and exported by Bangladesh, tariff rates in different countries, and conditions of rules of origin.

The policy said the databank would be set up in cooperation with the government and nongovernmental organisations.

The database will be of help to exporters and importers, banks and non-bank financial institutions, the National Board of Revenue and other stakeholders.

The new policy has expanded the sectors in which a certain portion of the export earnings can be spent under the retention quota, as well.

The retention quota is the percentage of export earnings that an exporter can deposit in banks abroad.

Another important aspect of the new policy is that the rate of value-added tax has to be a minimum of 40 per cent to secure the 'stimulus incentive' for exporting non-traditional and new products.

In the existing policy, it was 40 per cent for the first two years and at least 50 per cent for later years.


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