Bangladesh country guide
Learn about cross-border ecommerce, shipping, and importing.
If you are looking to grow your ecommerce business into Bangladesh, you’ve come to the right place. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about selling goods into Bangladesh.
Ease of doing business 2/5
- The steady growth in electronic and economic sectors of Bangladesh for the past decade has made ecommerce more acccessible and efficient.
- Bangladesh’s import regulations are more rigorous, and Bangladesh’s Customs require more documents than most countries.
- Bangladesh suffers from insufficient energy and transportation infrastructure and political unrest.
Landed cost fairness 3/5
- The duty and VAT rates are moderate, which is fair for landed cost.
- The de minimis for imports into Bangladesh is low, which means most imports incur duty and tax, which can make for a more expensive landed cost.
Flexibility of legal regulations 2/5
- There are several stringent legal regulations for importing into Bangladesh.
- Registration requirements, delays, and corruption allegations are common.
Availability and accessibility of shipping 5/5
- All major carriers offer shipping services to Bangladesh, allowing for easy access.
Accessibility and variety of payment methods 5/5
- Bangladesh uses a variety of digital payment methods, including mobile and internet banking.
Market opportunity 1/5
- Less than a third of Bangladesh’s already small population use the internet and shop online, making for a poor market opportunity.
|Population||168 million (2022)|
|GDP||460.75 billion USD (2022)|
|GDP per capita||2,824 USD (2022)|
|Internet penetration||31.5% of the population use the internet (2022)|
|Ecommerce users||29.4% of the population shop online (2022)|
|Leading product categories||Electronics; fashion; toys, hobbies, and DIY; media; beauty, health, and personal care; and household care|
|Preferred online payment method(s)||Mobile financial services (MFS) transactions, credit/debit card, and internet banking|
The landed cost for a cross-border transaction includes all duties, taxes, and fees associated with the purchase. This includes:
- Product price
- Fees (currency conversion, carrier, broker, customs, or government fees)
Bangladeshi de minimis, tax, and duty
CIF: CIF (cost, insurance, freight) is a method for calculating import taxes or duties where the tax is calculated on the cost of the order plus the cost of freight and insurance.
De minimis value
Duty and tax will be charged only on imports into Bangladesh where the total CIF value of the import exceeds Bangladesh's minimum value threshold (de minimis). Anything under the duty de minimis value will be considered a duty-free import. However, tax fees are charged on all imports since the tax de minimis is 0 BDT.
Duty and tax de minimis
- Tax De minimis: 0 BDT
- Duty de minimis: 1000 BDT Applied to the CIF value of the order
VAT - Value-added tax
- Standard import VAT rate range: 0-15% Applied to the CIF value of the order
Bangladesh has an average duty rate of 14% and a maximum rate of 25%. It is applied to the CIF value of the order.
Other import fees
- Advance income tax (AIT): Bangladesh imposes a 5% AIT on goods imported for commercial purposes, not consumer goods. Rates may change in the near future for industrial imports, raw materials, and more.
- Supplementary duty: Bangladesh charges a supplementary duty of 0-500%, which applies to luxury items such as cigarettes, alcohol, and perfume.
Bangladesh has at least 14 trade agreements that offer a zero or highly discounted duty rate for goods manufactured in participating countries.
Bangladesh also has several additional trade agreements in the works, but they are not set to take effect until after Bangladesh advances from a least developed country to a developing one in 2026, which has been approved by the United Nations.
Bangladesh is a member of the World Trade Organization
As a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Bangladesh must abide by the most-favored-nation (MFN) clause, which requires a country to provide any concessions, privileges, or immunities granted to one nation in a trade agreement to all other WTO member countries. For example, if one country reduces duties by 10% for a particular WTO country, the MFN clause states that all WTO members will receive the same 10% reduction.
Landed cost examples
Below are sample landed cost breakdowns for Bangladesh calculated using Zonos Quoter. Since there is no tax de minimis, tax will always apply:
Bangladesh Customs authority:
Customs refund in Bangladesh: Customs refund advance, Vat, or turnover tax in Bangladesh
Talk to your carrier about customs refunds.
Top courier services
- DHL Express
- Fox Parcel
- United Express Bangladesh
- USB Express
Depending on the courier, additional shipping fees may include:
- Fuel surcharge
- Remote delivery charge
- Signature fee
- Overweight or oversized fee
- Special handling fee
- Dangerous goods fee
Documentation and paperwork
Prohibited, restricted, and controlled imports into Bangladesh
Government agencies regulate imports.
Restricted items are different from prohibited items. Prohibited items are not allowed to be imported into a country at all. Restricted items are not allowed to be imported into a country unless the importer has approval or a special license. Controlled goods have military or national security significance.
- Illegal or non-prescription drugs
- Explosives and ammunition
- Knives and deadly weapons
- Food grains (rice products and flour products)
- Milk and milk products
- Maps and charts
- Beef, mutton, and animal fats
- Rare items of archaeological interest
- Human skeletons
- Eggs and poultry
- Oil cake
- Frogs of all species
- Goods from Israel and shipments of goods on vessels operating under the Israeli flag
- Counterfeit money and goods
- Pornographic material
- And more
Pharmaceutical materials, raw materials, and packing materials
- Receive approval from the Director of Drugs Administration, Government of Bangladesh
Food items, animal, and poultry feed
- Import permit and a general health certificate clearing the animals of rabies and diseases
Commercial importer: someone who imports goods with the intent to further supply to others.
Private industrial consumers: someone or a business that buys goods for the purpose of using the goods to conduct a business.
Commercial importers and private industrial consumers are required to undergo a registration process. Both must register with the Chief Controller of Imports and Exports (CCIE) within the Ministry of Commerce to obtain import registration certificates (IRC). IRCs allow commercial importers to import any amount of non-restricted goods. Industrial consumers have a maximum value for each product the consumer is allowed to import each year under the IRC, with the inclusion of restricted items. The required registration is in place to manage imports of raw materials and machinery, which usually enter Bangladesh with reduced duty rates.
Import Policy Order of 2015-2018
This policy is still in place because a new one has not been introduced yet. The policy Order of 2015-2018 is to promote easier importation of raw materials. The policy includes the following:
- The country of origin has to be noted on all products, their packaging, or their containers. Industrial-related raw materials, amongst a few other items, are exempt from marking the country of origin, such as coal, cotton, aluminum, and export-oriented garments.
- Several agricultural and food products are required to undergo a nuclear radiation test to receive a radiation certificate before entering Bangladesh. Such certification should also be submitted to Customs authorities. The U.S. Department of Agriculture office in Dhaka can assist with applications for radiation certificates.
- Non-commercial importers are allowed to import 7,000 USD worth of goods for personal use. However, importers are required to receive permission from the Chief Controller to import more than 7,000 USD worth of goods.
- Exporters or owners of abandoned ships and scrap vessels have to be in possession of certification, while the importer must declare that “hazardous or toxic waste is not being transported.”
These rules are in place to simplify the importation of raw materials used in export-centered sectors.