DHAKA, June 16 (Xinhua) -- The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Bangladeshi government on Wednesday signed agreements for a 143-million-U.S. dollar loan to improve the volume, efficiency, predictability and security of cross-border trade in Bangladesh.
Secretary of Economic Relations Division Fatima Yasmin and Country Director of ADB Edimon Ginting virtually signed the agreement on behalf of Bangladesh and ADB, said the Manila-based lender in a statement Thursday.
"Aligning with Bangladesh's policies and strategies, ADB is helping enhance export diversification and competitiveness for accelerating growth with industrialization and trade, and expanding subregional trade and commerce," said Ginting.
"ADB assistance will help increase the volume of imported and exported cargoes at the Akhaura, Sonamasjid, and Tamabil border crossing points (BCP) by 50 percent by 2027, while reducing average customs clearance and cargo transshipment time by 50 percent," Ginting added.
Bangladesh has been carrying out trade facilitation reforms to enhance export diversification and competitiveness by improving the quality of exports, signing bilateral trade and investment cooperation agreements, and promoting trade through better coordination among border agencies and private stakeholders.
The ADB assistance package includes a 90-million-U.S. dollars policy-based loan, which will support reforms in areas including bringing the country's customs legal frameworks in compliance with international standards, improving cargo clearance processes, and strengthening the capacity of the National Board of Revenue (NBR) and the Ministry of Commerce.
To complement the policy reforms, 53 million U.S. dollars will be used to construct integrated land customs stations and land ports of NBR and the Bangladesh Land Port Authority (BLPA) at Akhaura, Sonamasjid, and Tamabil border crossing points (BCPs).
Facilities and equipment for customs clearance and cargo transshipment operations will also be installed.