IDG is implementing the USAID-funded Feed the Future Bangladesh Improving Trade & Business Enabling Environment Activity, hereafter referred to as the Feed the Future Bangladesh Trade Activity, which is a five-year project based in Bangladesh. The goal of Feed the Future Bangladesh Trade Activity is to support the Government of Bangladesh to bolster economic growth and food security by improving trade facilitation, enhancing market access, and improving the business enabling market. The Feed the Future Bangladesh Trade Activity provides technical assistance, training, institutional strengthening, and other direct support to the Government of Bangladesh and non-governmental partners. It also promotes greater collaboration among the government, private sector, and civil society organizations. The Feed the Future Bangladesh Trade Activity operates through two main objectives:
Through the Feed the Future Bangladesh Trade Activity, IDG is working to effectively implement the WTO TFA and related obligations under the World Customs Organization Revised Kyoto Convention to create a strong business enabling environment. The Feed the Future Bangladesh Trade Activity is engaging with the Ministry of Commerce National Committee for Trade Facilitation (NCTF) and the National Board of Revenue (NBR) to assess the status of all agencies in implementing the TFA and provide recommendations for improving their effectiveness. To support the implementation of the WTO TFA, the Feed the Future Bangladesh Trade Activity has also identified gaps between current Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) status and international standards and has recommended amendments to enhance and digitize the AEO program for mutual recognition.
In working to improve the business enabling environment, the Feed the Future Bangladesh Trade Activity aims to address weaknesses identified in the World Bank’s ‘Ease of Doing Business’ report (e.g., business environment for starting and operating a business, Trading across borders, etc.). The Activity works to improve the ease of doing business by simplifying and digitizing Government to Business (G2B) services and engaging women-led groups to identify the barriers women face in doing business. The Activity engages with ministries and government agencies to map and streamline regulatory requirements and administrative processes and reduce unnecessary steps involved in each stage of setting up and running a business. The goal is to enhance the business enabling environment by decreasing the time, cost, and number of visits for G2B services. The Feed the Future Trade Activity aims to enable businesses to develop and grow more efficiently and competitively, as well as encourage economic growth and domestic and foreign investments.
Recognizing the challenges of achieving sustainable improvements in the Bangladeshi investment environment, IDG has also conducted a political economic analysis (PEA) to ensure that the Feed the Future Bangladesh Trade Activity activities are tailored to Bangladeshi structures, institutions, and stakeholders. IDG follows the USAID Applied PEA Field Guide, with a special focus on stakeholder analysis to identify all relevant sectors and understand their interest and power relationships around trade facilitation and improvements to the business enabling environment.
To promote the development of the private sector in Bangladesh and encourage economic growth, the Feed the Future Bangladesh Trade Activity is working in two key areas: trade facilitation and improving the business enabling environment. IDG is working with public agencies and private sector stakeholders to draw on best practices and regional experiences to build support for activities that simplify documentary requirements, streamline and strengthen rules and procedures for imports and exports, bolster technical capacity across border agencies, modernize processes through digitization and ICT, and advance stakeholder dialogue and inter-agency coordination by identifying and mitigating political economy constraints.
The Feed the Future Bangladesh Trade Activity is working to improve the Business Enabling Environment (BEE) through streamlining and simplifying processes related to the World Bank Doing Business Indicators and digitizing government services to ease business operations and make services more transparent and accessible both to men and women. The Feed the Future Bangladesh Trade Activity completed the baseline assessment for starting a business and protecting minority investors and has developed reform simulators for these two indicators.
The Feed the Future Bangladesh Trade Activity is working to improve trade facilitation through the implementation of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), building the trade facilitation capacity of government officials, and improving food safety procedures. The Feed the Future Bangladesh Trade Activity is working directly with the National Board of Revenue (NBR) and the Ministry of Commerce National Committee for Trade Facilitation (NCTF) to implement the WTO TFA and develop training programs for Bangladeshi customs officers and trade representatives. To improve food safety to bolster agricultural trade, the Feed the Future Bangladesh Trade Activity is working to build Government of Bangladesh institutional capability and expertise to develop and adopt science-based policies and regulations to comply with internationally recognized hygiene, standards, practices, and procedures.