Despite being close neighbors, trade relations between Bangladesh and Myanmar have yet to reach the expected level. Huge potential for robust bilateral trade remains to be materialized. The volume of bilateral trade is far below the true potential, and the neighbours are not among each other’s largest trading partners. However, volume of trade between the two countries is showing gradual upward trend.
Major Bangladesh export items to Myanmar are Pharmaceutical products, Chemicals, Iron and Steel article, Machinery, Electric and Electronic items, PVC items, Jute manufactures, Cement, Garments, Textile fabrics, Snacks and other consumables. Pharmaceutical products constitute bulk of Bangladesh export to Myanmar.
Bangladesh mainly imports agricultural produce like Rice, Beans, Pulses, Garlic, Ginger, Onion, Maize and Betel nuts, Sweet water Fish, Livestock, prepared Foodstuffs, Tobacco, raw Hides and Skin, Leather, Wood and articles of woods, Bamboo, Footwear, Textiles and artificial human hair from Myanmar.
In 2018-2019 fiscal year, Bangladesh’s total export to Myanmar was around US$ 32.00 million while Bangladesh’s import from Myanmar was around US$ 146.00 million. In 2019-2020 fiscal year, Bangladesh’s total export to Myanmar was around US$ 30.00 million while Bangladesh’s import from Myanmar was around US$ 181.00 million. In 2020-2021 fiscal year, Bangladesh’s total export to Myanmar was around US$ 31.00 million while Bangladesh’s import from Myanmar was around US$ 119.00 million.
Bangladesh and Myanmar established Border Trade arrangement in 1996. Around 40% cent of exports from Myanmar to Bangladesh and around 29% of import of Myanmar from Bangladesh take place through Border trade.
Lack of Road connectivity, Air connectivity and Coastal Shipping arrangement remain obstacle to boost bilateral Trade volume. Both the countries need to focus on cost-effective mode of transport connectivity and infrastructures related to trade such as ports, jetties, customs station etc. Issues like high tariff and non-tariff barriers need to be addressed.