ADB to lend $143m to support cross-border trade


The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $143 million loan package to support the Government of Bangladesh's efforts to accelerate growth by improving efficiency, predictability, and security of cross-border trade.

Bangladesh has been carrying out trade facilitation strategies 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.

"ADB's assistance supports the government's goal of accelerating economic growth through industrialization and trade," said ADB Principal Economist Tadateru Hayashi.

"The program will help diversify the country's export products and destinations. Improved connectivity will facilitate subregional trade and commerce among the South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation countries,” added Hayashi.

The ADB loan package includes a $90 million 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, said an ADB press release.

To complement the policy reforms, a $53 million project loan will 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.

ADB will provide a $1.5 million technical assistance grant from its Technical Assistance Special Fund to support the modernization of the customs legal framework and coordination among the border agencies, prepare an operationalization plan of central customs facilities, strengthen NBR's capacity to implement modernized customs operations at BCPs, and build the project implementation capacity of NBR and BLPA.