Iraq war takes toll on Bangladesh

  • MonaLisa, Dhaka
  • |
  • Updated: Mar 28, 2003 15:58 IST

The US-led war on Iraq has already taken its toll on trade in Bangladesh with several buyers from the West Asia either cancelling their orders or asking exporters to delay the goods forcing Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia to call for an immediate end to the invasion.

Exports of readymade garments and frozen foods have seen a decline of $200 million and 15 per cent respectively since the beginning of the Iraq war, The Financial Express reported on Friday.

While readymade garments account for over $6 billion in exports earnings, frozen food sector fetches between $400-450 million.

Zia has called for immediate start of humanitarian aid by the UN agencies in war ravaged Iraq and stressed on dissolving all problems amicably through discussion.

Zia while receiving the new Iranian envoy to Bangladesh on Thursday voiced concern over casualties of innocent civilians, including women and children.

Business community had expressed apprehension on cancellation of orders and loss of exports immediately after the start of the invasion.

If the war prolongs any further, shrimp export, which amounts for a major chunk in the frozen food exports may nosedive by about 50 per cent, the business daily said.

The war has also delayed the visit of the US Food and Drug Administration inspection team scheduled for April, which was to decide the future course of frozen food exports.

The war would also see a decline in remittances from the West Asia countries leaving the strength of the foreign reserves in poor condition.

Meanwhile, Bangladesh Biman, the national air carrier resumed its flights to Kuwait on Thursday.


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