As one of the fastest-growing economies in South Asia, Bangladesh is slowly becoming a major player in the import and export business. Some of the country’s top exports include RMG, leather, fish, jute, etc. On the other hand, Bangladesh primarily imports petroleum & oil, textiles, food, iron & steel, and a few other commodities that are not readily available in the country. As of 2020-21, the total export of goods by Bangladesh amounted to $33.9 billion, and services amounted to $6.1 billion, according to Bangladesh Bank. Whereas, Bangladesh imported goods worth approximately $54.4 billion and services worth $7.2 billion. Here is a snapshot of the exports and imports of Bangladesh in recent times.
|2020-21 ($ in billion)||2019-20 ($ in billion)|
|Import (Goods & Services)||61.6||55.6|
|Export (Goods & Services)||40.1||35.6|
|July-May (2020-21) [$ in billion]||July-May (2021-22) [$ in billion]||Change in %|
Seeing this data, the most natural question that can come up is who are the top trading partners of Bangladesh? Well, let’s find out for ourselves.
Top Import Partners of Bangladesh
Bangladesh covers a large part of its resource scarcity by importing products from partner countries. Here is a list of the top import partners of Bangladesh.
It should come as no surprise that the top import partner of Bangladesh is China. According to Bangladesh Bank, the country has imported $12.9 billion worth of goods from China in the period 2020-21. These include cotton, electrical machinery, plastic, filaments, iron & steel, organic chemicals, paper, fertilizers, etc. With such a strong relationship between the two countries, it is predicted that China will continue to be a key import partner for Bangladesh for the foreseeable future.
Trade between Bangladesh and its neighboring country, India, has remained strong for several years. That is why Bangladesh imports the second largest volume of goods from India, and in 2020-21, it amounted to $8.6 billion. These items include cereals, vehicles, mineral fuels, organic chemicals, sugar, ores, soap, and many more.
Now that we got some of the most obvious trading partners of Bangladesh out of the way, the next largest import partner of the country is Singapore. In 2021-20, Bangladesh brought in goods like mineral fuels, animal fats, organic chemicals, electrical equipment, oil seeds, tanning extracts, etc., from Singapore, accounting for almost $2.5 billion.
4. The United States
It is quite interesting to see that the U.S. is the fourth largest import partner of Bangladesh, given how well both countries get along with each other. Oil seeds, iron & steel, cotton, ships, pharmaceutical products, and many other commodities are brought straight from North America. Bangladesh Bank measured a total of $2.26 billion of imports from the U.S.
Bangladesh imports a large amount of iron & steel, ships, vehicles, zinc, man-made fibers, ores, plastic, and rubber items from Japan. The country has been a significant contributor to the development of Bangladesh. In 2020-21, Bangladesh imported $2 billion worth of commodities from Japan.
For the sake of convenience, here is a table that outlines some of Bangladesh’s other significant import partners.
|Country||Amount (in $ billions)||Type of Goods|
|6. Indonesia||1.8||Vegetable fats, mineral fuels, salt, pulp of wood, chemicals|
|7. Brazil||1.7||Sugar, cotton, oil seeds, pharmaceuticals, edible nuts|
|8. Malaysia||1.6||Minerals, plastics, rubber, dairy products, aluminum|
|9. UAE||1.3||Salts, inorganic products, oil seeds, edible nuts|
|10. Korea||1.1||Ships, plastics, paper, dying extracts, machinery, zinc|
Top Export Destinations of Bangladesh
One of the biggest factors contributing to the growth of the economy and GDP of Bangladesh is its export business. The country primarily exports readymade garments, fish, shrimp, prawns, home textiles, jute products, leather products, and handicrafts. Here is a look at the country’s biggest export partners.
1. The USA
Given how much we import from the U.S., Bangladesh already has a great trade relationship with them. However, the U.S. is also the country’s biggest export destination as well. In 2020-21, Bangladesh exported $4.9 billion of commodities to America. This was a significant increase from the previous year when the amount was $3.9 billion.
Bangladesh wants to establish a strong foothold in the European market. And Germany is their biggest export destination. In 2020-21, Bangladesh exported $4.2 billion of goods to Germany. The total exports to Germany have increased over the last year but fell when compared to the year before that. For instance, Bangladesh earned $3.8 billion and $4.6 billion in export from Germany in 2019-20 and 2018-19, respectively.
3. The UK
Bangladesh primarily exports RMG products, marine products, and home textiles to the UK. As such, Bangladesh earned $2.8 billion from the UK in 2020-21 through the sale of these goods. In comparison, the country exported goods of $2.6 billion and $2.9 billion to the UK in the years before that.
Spain is one of the key European destinations for Bangladesh’s RMG industry. Of the total $1.993 billion that has been exported, Spain spent $1.902 billion on RMG alone. This just goes to show how significant Bangladesh’s RMG sector is to the European market right now.
Just like Spain, France is another very important country to Bangladesh’s exports. It was reported that, other than RMG, Bangladesh also exported large amounts of home textiles, leather, and fish to France. This led to Bangladesh exporting $1.6 billion of goods to France in 2020-21.
Apart from these countries, here are a few other notable export destinations of Bangladesh.
|Country||Amount ($ in billions)|
Bangladesh has been making major strides towards building a global presence. And to do that, it is important for Bangladesh to maintain good trade relationships with its partner countries. As it stands, China and India are the most prominent partners in terms of imports. On the other hand, Bangladesh is heavily focused on trying to capture the U.S. and European markets with their steady export of RMG goods to countries like Germany, Spain, France, etc.