According to a Commonwealth Secretariat report on the change to paperless trading, Bangladesh’s trade costs as a share of trade revenue remained the highest in South Asia, accounting for nearly 80% of trade revenues in 2020. This is due to higher total transportation expenses. In Pakistan, it is 80%, in India and Sri Lanka, it is over 60%, and in the United Kingdom, it is less than 20%.
In Singapore, Canada, and New Zealand, the percentage is over 20%.
The research looked at 54 Commonwealth economies with a combined trade value of more than $5 trillion. According to the analysis, after Bangladesh adopts overall digitalization by 2026, this expensive cost might be lowered to less than 20%.
However, public sentiment across emerging Asia, particularly Bangladesh and Malaysia, is a potential obstacle to rapid adoption of reforms in reducing trade costs, the report noted. The report also seeks solution to the current challenges facing Commonwealth nations in implementing paperless trade by means of qualitative desk research, discourse analysis and semi-structured in-depth interviews. The documentary-compliance cost in Bangladesh also remained over $200 for a $25,000 shipment. The report blames the pandemic-induced supply disruptions for the higher transport costs.