Export orders fell 48.76 percent to Tk 80.44 crore at the Dhaka International Trade Fair 2014 from the previous year, as political instability kept away foreign buyers, according to data from the Export Promotion Bureau.
The massive fall in export orders was because of the thin participation of foreign buyers, several shop managers said.
The nationwide strikes and blockades discouraged foreign buyers to come to the fair, one of them said. “Our sales also fell this year compared to the previous year,” he said.
The fair that came to a close yesterday pulled in 12 countries that showcased products.
The government is working to explore new markets for Bangladeshi products, Tofail Ahmed, commerce minister, said at the closing ceremony of the fair.
The manufactures should diversify their products to tap more export orders, Ahmed said. “I will fight for duty and quota free access of Bangladeshi products to the global market as a least developed country,” he said.
Ahmed will participate in a programme jointly organised by the World Trade Organisation and United Nations Conference on Trade and Development in Geneva in April.
In the first six months of the current fiscal year, exports grew by 16.56 percent to $14.68 billion.
“Bangladesh would be a developed country by 2021, if we could separate politics from business,” he said.
The export performance during the period stayed 3.08 percent above the target, he said. The ministry is working to develop a permanent venue for the fair at Purbachal, he said.
The UNCTAD suggested least developed countries develop domestic markets and regional trade to boost trade and investment, said Mahbub Ahmed, commerce secretary.
“We are working to develop our domestic market as well as regional trade,” he said. The fair created a festive mood for people of the city, he added.
Diversification of products is the main challenge for Bangladeshi exporters, said Shubhashish Bose, vice-chairman of EPB.
“We are working to explore new markets in Latin America, Russia and Africa,” Bose said.
Bangladesh has met the export target in July-December period despite domestic odds, he added.
A total of 309 organisations participated in the fair. Of them 47 organisations won prizes in 12 categories for good performance and outlook.