The routine annual event, styled Dhaka International Trade Fair (DITF), that is now being held for the current year, 2016, is, as usual, drawing visitors in sizable numbers. In many developing countries, such fairs serve the purpose of export promotion by attracting foreign buyers as well. Furthermore, businesses from the overseas do take part in such international fairs to put on display there their exportable items and products to expand the horizon of their overseas trading activities. The DITF has unfortunately not yet come of age and become such an event, as far as participation of overseas businesses is concerned. Though a number of foreign countries are exhibiting their products in the DITF '16 much like the case in the previous years, the deals or contracts that are normally made at such trade fairs between and among the businesses, both local and overseas, for the days ahead, are unlikely to be of any notable mark. That makes the DITF's nomenclature as an international trade fair or event, somewhat incongruous.
Against this backdrop, Prime Minister Shaikh Hasina, while inaugurating the DITF '16 on January 01, did quite rightly highlight the need on the part of the country's entrepreneurs and businesses, for seizing the opportunities that have been opened up by globalisation, through such expositions. There is no denying the fact that Bangladesh needs to give a befitting emphasis on efforts for diversification of items and expansion of markets in order to boost its export earnings on a sustained and sustainable basis. In this context, development of modern management skills is indeed critical to stay competitive in the global economy and to face challenges in the event of any future debacle or crisis in the export sector.
The country has no option other than taking effective steps to diversify its exportable products as well explore new export destinations, in consideration of its skinny list of export items. A good number of Bangladeshi products enjoy duty-free and quota-free (DFQF) facility in many developed economies and fast developing ones. But as its export basket remains narrow in terms of product range, it has not been able to tap the export potential in many overseas markets.
Bangladesh has otherwise emerged as an economy having enormous prospects, thanks largely to resilience of its private sector. Guidelines under public-private partnership (PPP) have now been formulated for boosting trade and improving infrastructure. It is thus time for the country's businesses to take more pro-active steps to harness, to an optimal state, the economy's potential as a thriving one in a globalised context. In this respect, a number of steps in several key areas such as generation and supplies of power and gas, ensuring business-friendly environment and easing business operations in a cost-effective manner, do also need to be taken, all in tandem, without any further delay. Presently, 55 per cent of the Bangladesh economy is integrated with the global one, through export receipts, import payments, foreign private capital and aid flows, remittance earnings etc. This illustrates one positive feat of the country's economy. Now it is a major challenge before it to find ways to further beef up and expand this linkage with the global economy. The government and the exporters have to be up and doing about this, in order to enhance the country's capacity to face the challenges of globalisation as much as to seize its opportunities.