The import market of Bangladesh is worth $43.49 billion. The major importing commodities by Bangladesh are cotton, machinery and equipment, chemicals, iron and steel, and foodstuffs. In the years following the 1990s, the dependency of Bangladesh on imports and foreign aid rapidly declined. As per the statistics presented in 2015, the country became the 54th largest importer of the world. From 2010 to 2015, the levels of imports rose from $24.9 billion to $38.3 billion which is a 53% rise. The 2 important commodities that faced the substantial augmentation in imports by Bangladesh are woven cotton and refined petroleum. Wheat was imported around 2.4% along with the imports of raw sugar reaching the levels of 2.1%. The seasonal hunger and bad harvest in subsequent years have led to the massive import of agricultural products in the country. Population pressure is also a significant reason for the deficit of food and seasonal hunger that is either satisfied by imports or foreign aid. To end the dependency on and domination of Chinese textiles in the global market, US and several members of EU bolstered Bangladesh’s cotton industry.
In recent years, the imports of cotton have increased by 485% due to the existing textile industry. Bangladesh’s economy, being one of the emerging economies, requires a lot of machinery and equipment which mandates the import of heavy machinery and capital goods. The imports of capital goods rose by more than 180% in the last 7 years.
As of the data available for 2016-2017, the exports for the country have reached the level of $34.02 billion. The major exports of the country include cotton products, textile commodities, frozen food (fish and seafood), and jute products. Bangladesh has adopted the approach of export-oriented industrialization where an integral conducive factor to its economic growth has been its exports in the international market. Before the partition, Bangladesh had the strategic significance of owning a number of jute industries which augmented the economic growth but after 1971 and separation from the other wing of Pakistan, things changed for the country. Bangladesh started to develop its seafood industry particularly to satisfy the domestic demand which was heavily composed of fishes, the excess of this product was exported to the Middle East and other countries. Following, the political instability in Pakistan, many local cotton industries fled to Bangladesh where the government policies were favorable, political stability was prevalent, and power crisis was not at all as severe as it was in Pakistan. The flight of so many industries to Bangladesh boosted the economic activity there which also improved the financial condition there. Bangladesh has been termed as the underdog of the Asian region and has been termed as one of the emerging countries which will unfold its economic potential in the foreseeable future. In 2015, due to the volume of exports, Bangladesh became the 55th largest exporter in the world.