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Muslimtrade Network members
about Bangladesh.

B  A  N  G  L  A  D  E  S  H 

1 - 1. General characteristics: *
1. 2. General information : *
1. 3. The legal framework of trade relationships: *

2 -1. The main imported and exported products: *
2 - 2. Trading partners (1996): *

3 -1. Imports regulations: *
3 - 2. Exports regulations : *
3 -3. Other formalities and documents : *

4 -1. Banking system: *
4 -2. Exchange system: *
4 -3. Methods and means for international settlement: *

5 -1. Applicable duties and taxes: *
5 -2. Special provisions: *

6 -1. International Transports: *
6 -2. Telecommunications: *
6 -3. Distribution System: *



1 - 1. General characteristics:   

Official Name: The People’s Republic of Bangladesh.
Area: 144,000 square kilometers.
Population: 124 millions inhabitants.
Density: 861 inhabitants per square kilometer.
Capital:  Dhaka.
Climate: Bangladesh' s climate is tropical and moderate. The rain is very important in Sylhet area (5000mm) and it diminishes from West to south-eastern part of the country in July to October. The dry season starts from March to June. During the hot season, temperatures are generally higher than 36.8°C in July over the whole territory while in winter the average temperature reaches about 13.4°C in January.
Main holidays: January 1st, February 21st (Day of Shaheed Marytr), March 26th (Independence day), May 1st, November 7th (National Revolution and Solidarity Day), December 16th (Victory Day), December 25th, Aid El Mouloud, Aid Al Fitr and Aid Al Adha, Good Friday*, Easter Monday*, March 3rd*, April 12-13rd*, 15th, 16-18th*, May 27th*, June 22*-24th*, July 23rd*, September 1st, 22nd* and October 17th*.  

(*) Variable dates.

1. 2. General information : 

Language: Bangla is the official language and English.
Currency:  Taka ( 1 US Dollar = 41.79 Takas in 1996).
Local time:  GMT - 6 H. 
Working hours: 

Administration and Government services: From Saturday to Thursday: 8 H a.m. to 14H.30 p.m. 

Banks: From Saturday to Wednesday: 9 H a.m. to 15 H p.m. Thursday: from 9 H a.m. to 12 H a.m. 

Shops: From Saturday to Thursday: 10H a.m. to 18H (or 20H) p.m. No shop on Tuesday. 

Business: From Sunday to Thursday: 8H a.m. to 15H p.m.

weekly day-off: Friday

1. 3. The legal framework of trade relationships: 

Bangladesh is member of the following international organizations:

The World Trade Organization (WTO); 
The Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC); 
The Economic Co-operation Organization, gathering central Asia Islamic countries; 
The South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation (SAARC); 
And the United Nations Organization (UN), as well as its other main specialized institutions. 

Bangladesh has also signed Bangkok Agreement and SAARC conventions. The members of SAARC are Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. 


2 -1. Main Imported and Exported products: 


Main Imported products

Main Exported products

Machinery and transport equipment;
Readymade garments all sorts
Petroleum and petroleum products
Jute manufactures
Textile yarns fabrics and made up articles and related products
Fish and Prawns
Hides, skins and leather
Iron and Steel
Jute raw and Meshta
Cereals and cereal preparations
Tea and Fertilizers
Dairy products and eggs

2 - 2. Trading partners (1996): 

Main suppliers

Main customers


United States of America


United Kingdom



Hong Kong







3 -1. Imports regulations: 

Bangladesh import policy abolished the "negative list" and "restricted list" which was replaced by the "Control List" on July 1988. Some articles are banned for Export:

Banned Export items in Bangladesh:

All imported goods in their original or unprocessed form;

Ferrous and non-ferrous metals and scraps thereof; 

Petroleum and petroleum products except naphtha and furnace oil; 

Oil seeds and edible oils except Kapok seeds; 

Jute seeds and sun-hemp seeds; 

Food-grains including rice products and flour products;

Milk and milk products; 

Gur and Khandseri sugar;

Live animals all sorts, skins of animals and wildlife covered by the Bangladesh Wildlife except the species detailed in the first schedule of the said order; 

Arms and ammunitions, explosives and ingredients thereof; 

Fissionable materials; 

Maps and charts except the following: 

Unclassified maps of scale smaller than ¼ inch or 1/250,000 scale;

Education and scientific charts;  

And Guide maps and relief maps.

Beef, mutton and animal fats; 

Green coconuts, coconuts and copra; 

Rare items of archaeological interest; 

Human skeletons; 


Eggs and poultry; 

Prawns and shrimps except frozen and processed;

Features films not certified by the Bangladesh Film Censorship Board as fit for Export;


Rice bran except de-oiled rice bran.

Shrimp of count 71/90 and sizes below for seawater and 61/70 and sizes below for fresh water excluding two varieties;

Oil cake; 

Bamboo and cane in whole form and wood log; 

Frogs of all species (live or dead) and frogs leg.

The essential documents are recommended:

Commercial invoice: Three copies of the commercial invoice are required. Two copies of the commercial invoice must accompany air cargo and parcel port shipment; additional copies should be sent to the consignee. The invoice must contain full particulars of the shipment, including names of buyer, and seller, quantities, weight, value of the goods per unit and all necessary charges to establish CIF value, shipping terms, shipping marks, country of origin unless a separate certificate of origin is required, and a statement that the goods are in accordance with the pro forma invoice. The invoice must be signed by the manufacturer or shipper; 
Certificate of origin: Three copies, when required by the letter of credit, or the importer, should be provided on a general form sold by commercial printers. The certificate of origin must be certified by a recognized chamber of commerce; 
Bill of lading: Three copies are required. A bill of lading customarily shows the name of the shipper, the name and address of the consignee, port of destination, description of goods, the listing of the freight and other charges, the number of bills of lading in the full set, and the date and the signature of the carrier’s official acknowledging receipt on board of the goods for shipment. The information should correspond with that shown on the invoices and the packages; 
Packing list: Although not required, a packing list generally expedites clearance of shipment through customs, particularly when the shipment consists of items of different customs classifications or numerous small items.  

3 - 2. Exports regulations : 

Prohibited articles for Export to Bangladesh according 1993-1995 IPO :

Category number

Harmonized System

Articles description



Living small pigs



Pigs and poultry fats



Birds eggs



Coat of pig



Poppy grains



Andropogon SPP and Indian hemp






Relaxed leaves



Bacon, Lard



Lard and Stearin



Crude Sugar






Dregs, Argol






Wire of Indian undercontinent language






Silk fabric


5102.10 to 6109.90

Pore silks and wire silks


5208.11 to 5212.25

Mentioned articles in IPO 93-95


5407.10 to 5408.34

Mentioned articles in IPO 93-95


5512.11 to 5516.94

Mentioned articles in IPO 93-95


5607.41 to 5607.90

Polyethylene nylon and rope



Fish filet which stitch is under 4 cm


5610.10 to 5610.90

Hackneyed articles



Padlock which size had 3"



Electricity CBU counter which has only phase

The following documents are required for an Export transaction: Substantive and auxiliary documents:

Substantive documents: 

Draft or Bill of Exchange;

Commercial invoice;

Bill of lading or airway bill;

Marine insurance policy.

Auxiliary documents: 

Packing list; 

Consular invoice; 

Certificate of origin; 

Quality control certificate; 

Phytosanitary certificate;

GSP certificate; 

Inspection certificate.

3 -3. Other formalities and documents : 

Import of Pharmaceutical raw materials and packing materials is subject to approval by the Director of Drugs Administration, Government of Bangladesh. For import of food items, animal, poultry feed special documents are required. 

Quarantine restrictions apply in case of import of live animal, plants and plant products. Permissible live animals are importable only with clearance from the Directorate of Livestock Services. Permissible explosive items are importable with prior clearance from the Chief Inspector of Explosives. 

For Export of jute, jute goods, tea and tobacco, an exporter, in addition to Export Registration Certificate, needs a separate license to be issued by the concerned agencies. 

Sanitary certificate is required for all livestock and plants and plant products (except fruit and vegetable) certifying that they are free of injurious insects, pests and diseases.  

Radiation certificate: imports of milk and milk products, edible oils, and certain other food items, including food for poultry and animals, may require radioactivity test reports issued by the competent authority in the country of Export. 

Fumigation certificate: a fumigation certificate must accompany used clothing.

Straw and hay: Straw or hay used in packing must be certified to be free of insects and disease.  

Iron and steel: Imports of iron and steel require a producer’s certificate. 

Textiles: law for textile imports requires a certificate of cleanliness. 

Printed advertising matters such as posters, pamphlets, trade catalogues, and advertising circulars are admitted duty-free.


4 -1. Banking system: 

The banking system in Bangladesh may be divided into the following categories:

The Central Bank (Bangladesh Bank); 
Nationalized Commercial Banks (NCB); 
Private Commercial Banks and Foreign Banks; 
Development Finance Institutions (DFI) and Specialized Banks; 
Non-banking Financial Institutions; and Insurance. 

* Nationalized Commercial Banks is composed of four banks like Sonali Bank, Janata Bank, Agrani Bank and Rupali Bank.

* Private and Foreign Banks are six: American Express Bank LTD, Bank indo-Suez, ANZ Grindlays Bank PLC, The Standard Chartered Bank, Habib Bank LTD and State Bank of India.

* DFI and Specialized Banks: They are five: Bangladesh Shilpa Bank (BSB), Bangladesh Shilpa Rin Sangstha (BSRS) and Bank of Small Industries and Commerce Bangladesh LTD (BASIC) were set up to provide industrial credit. Bangladesh Krishi Bank and Rajshahi Krishi Unnayan (RAKUB) promote agriculture and rural sector.

* Non-Banking Financial Institutions are generally promoting investment companies like house building finance corporation and leasing.

4 -2. Exchange system: 

Exchange control is administered by the Bangladesh Bank in accordance with the general policy formulated in consultation with the Ministry of Finance. 

Bangladesh maintains a rather liberal foreign exchange system. There are two exchange rates: the official rate and the secondary exchange market rate. The difference between these rates is generally ten per cent. The official rate includes imports of foods grains, fertilizers and crude petroleum and petroleum products but the second rate includes others import products.  

Foreign exchange for authorized imports is provided automatically by authorized dealers when payments are due. Advance payments for imports require approval by the Bangladesh Bank, and this approval normally is given only for specialized or capital goods. 

4 -3. Methods and means for international settlement: 

Bangladesh is a member of Asian Clearing Union. The central banks members do these payments for current international transactions on a multilateral basis.  

Imports are financed either from Bangladesh’s own resources or with foreign aid, loans, and barter arrangements. Letter of credit authorization forms are required from all registered importers , including most government departments but excluding the Ministry of Defense, for all imports. Registered commercial importers are allowed to import against letter of credit authorization forms issued by authorized dealer banks. A separate import license is not required. Payment against imports is generally permissible only under cover of irrevocable letters of credit. 

The following payments exist in Bangladesh:  

Payments for current international transactions as defined by the Articles of Agreement of the International Monetary Fund; 

Payments permitted by the country in which the payer resides. 

Commercial banks of customer countries must maintain accounts with their correspondents in the other member countries for the purpose of setting the transactions. 

Payment for goods exported from Bangladesh should be received through an authorized dealer (bank) in freely convertible foreign currency or in Bangladesh taka from a non resident bank account.

The period within which exporters must receive full foreign exchange proceeds of exports is within four months from the date of shipment. 

Exporters may, as against the confirmed irrevocable Export L/C, open back-to-back L/C for import on usance basis covering up to 75 percent the value of Export L/C for the purpose of raw materials and accessories import required for the manufacture of the goods intended for exports.


The Bangladesh government applied some incentives for enhancing its international trade like the liberalization of trade by reducing tariff and non-tariff barriers and the simplification of trade procedures. 

Bangladesh uses the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System for classification and description of items in the tariff.

5 -1. Applicable duties and taxes: 

Customs duties: The customs taxes must reach 15 % on CIF value for intermediate products, 100% on finished products except luxury items, 0 to 85% on textile, metallurgical and electromechanical products, 10 % on equipment items.

The customs tariff is divided into two classification rates: Statutory and concessionary rates. The first is applicable to all imports unless an exemption is specified. The second is applicable to articles intended for exclusive agricultural use, to goods for education, to relief goods, and to raw materials and packaging for the pharmaceutical industry.  

* Specific duties: For goods subject to specific duties, the net weight is used. 

Ad volrem duties: For imported goods subject to ad valorem duties, Bangladesh customs authorities usually will accept the invoice price as the dutiable value unless there is doubt as to reasonableness or authenticity.

Preferential duties: Bangladesh is member of the South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation and signed a preferential trade agreement in April 1993. The preferential tariff concerns raw material, agricultural products, livestock, marine products and scrap metal. 

Customs surcharges and indirect taxes: A 15 percent value-added tax replaced the sales tax at import level, from July 1st, 1991. All imported goods, except basic necessities, are subject to the value-added tax. 

5 -2. Special provisions: 

Value Added Tax is not payable for imported capital machinery and spares. 

Duties and taxes on import of goods that are produced locally will be higher than those applicable to import of raw materials for producing such items. 


6 -1. International Transports: 

The transport in Bangladesh is composed of four modes: road transport, railway, inland water and airway. 

The total length of paved road network is 13627 kilometers, the inland water is over 24138 km and the railway is 4440 km. 

Bangladesh has two ports like Chittagong and Mangla which capacities are respectively 7.5 and 1.93 millions tons. It has also two principal airports (Zia International Airport of Dhaka and International airport of Chittagong) and domestic airports like: Dhaka, Chittagong, Sylhet, Jessore, Rajshahi, Iswardi, Saidpur and Cox's Bazar. 

Zia International Airport at Dhaka is linked to the international network through regular flights of Bangladesh Biman, Indian Airlines, Thai Airlines, PIA, British Airways, Saudia, Gulf Airways, Emirates, Aeroflot, Royal Nepal Airlines, KLM, Dragon Air, Iraq Airways, Kuwait Airways, Singapore Airlines etc. 

The national air is called Bangladesh Biman Airlines (McDonald DC10-30, British Aerospace ATP Aircraft and Fokker F-28 Aircraft).

6 -2. Telecommunications: 

Telecommunication facilities are available in Bangladesh like the automatic telephone (1 telephone per 770 people), telex and fax systems.

International telephone lines are provided by earth satellite stations that are connected to Indian Ocean Communication Satellite and Intelsat. 

Until recently, the telecommunication system in Bangladesh was a government monopoly. Now, the private sector has allowed to sell telephone services through cellular system and rural networks. 

6 -3. Distribution System: 

The distribution of goods are made by road, air and sea or river as the case may be and to places where there is a market. 

Trading societies, which are in Dhaka, Chittagong and Khulna with sales outlet and distributorship throughout the country, carry out import business in Bangladesh. 

A major importing company may handle hundreds of items of products. Smaller societies may either try to maintain a diverse range of items specialized in electrical, transport equipment… 

Tugs, boats, inland water barges, and small cargo vessels are used extensively for domestic distribution of goods. Trucks and railways are the major modes of transportation for imported commodities; some goods also are shipped from city by air cargo. 

In general, retailers live in popular areas and can obtain a credit for a week. The sale representatives (wholesalers) of big companies of trade in rural areas go to Dhaka, Chittagong for some monthly orders. 

There are not any supermarkets in Bangladesh but commercial centres are numerous. 





Export Promotion Bureau. Trade information centre. Chamber Building 122-124, Motijheel Commercial Area, Dhaka 1000

Tel : (8802) 9552245 

Telex: 642204EPBB BJ 

Fax: (8802) 9568000 

E-mail: epb.tic

Ministry of Commerce Bangladesh Secretariat, Top Khana Road  Tel : 834886,241225
Bangladesh Bank Motijheel Commercial Area, P.O.Box: No 325 Dhaka

Tel: (8802) 235000-19,512437 

Telex: 632226 Bank BJ, 632227 Bank BJ. 

Fax: (8802) 833394.

Chief Controller of Export and Import 111-113, Motijheel Commercial Area. Dhaka Tel: (8802)231556-230289-233018.
Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry 60, Motijiheel Commercial Area, Dhaka

Tel : (8802) 240102, 964760, 282880 

Telex: 632412 FBCCI BJ 

Fax: 880-2-863213