SAARC market holds huge potential for Bangladesh

Bangladesh has the potential of having a $24.65 billion export market in South Asia by 2020.

But, the country’s unexploited potential of exports to the SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) is estimated at 93 per cent.

In 2014, Bangladesh’s actual export to SAARC countries stood at $532.70 million, while the potential was $7735.21 million or $7.73 billion.

That means the unexploited potential of export stood a $7.20 billion in the year under review.

The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), in a report released this month, presented the scenario.

The title of the report is ‘Unlocking the Potential of Regional Economic Cooperation and Integration in South Asia.’

It also mentioned that Bangladesh has the highest unexploited proportion, at 93 per cent, of export followed by the Maldives (88pc), Pakistan (86pc), Afghanistan (83pc) and Nepal (76pc).

Statistics available with Bangladesh’s export promotion agency, however, showed that the country’s export to the SAARC stood at $652.57 million in July-March period of the current fiscal year (FY17).

The combined export to SAARC countries was $572.75 million in the same period of the past fiscal year (FY16).

Bangladesh’s export to India covers 80 per cent of the total export to SAARC region.