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Muslim conversions and settlement in the region now referred to as Bangladesh began in the 10th century, primarily from Arab and Persian traders and preachers. Europeans established trading posts in the area in the 16th century. Eventually the area known as Bengal, primarily Hindu in the western section and mostly Muslim in the eastern half, became part of British India. Partition in 1947 resulted in an eastern wing of Pakistan in the Muslim-majority area, which became East Pakistan. Calls for greater autonomy and animosity between the eastern and western wings of Pakistan led to a Bengali independence movement. That movement, led by the Awami League (AL) and supported by India, won the independence war for Bangladesh in 1971.


Southern Asia, bordering the Bay of Bengal, between Burma and India

Natural Resources

natural gas, arable land, timber, coal

Population - distribution

Bangla 98.8% (official, also known as Bengali), other 1.2% (2011 est.)
DHAKA (capital) 17.598 million; Chittagong 4.539 million; Khulna 1.022 million; Rajshahi 844,000 (2015)
Conventional long form
People's Republic of Bangladesh
Conventional short form
Local long form
Gana Prajatantri Bangladesh
Local short form
parliamentary republic
Geographic coordinates
23 43 N, 90 24 E
Time difference
UTC+6 (11 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
Bangladesh's economy has grown roughly 6% per year since 1996 despite prolonged periods of political instability, poor infrastructure, endemic corruption, insufficient power supplies, and slow implementation of economic reforms. Although more than half of GDP is generated through the services sector, almost half of Bangladeshis are employed in the agriculture sector, with rice as the single-most-important product.
External debt stocks
US$ 38,639,917,000
Total tax rate (% of commercial profits)
Real Interest Rate
Manufacturing, value added (% of GDP)
Current Account Balance
US$ 2,686,936,581
Labor Force, Total
Employment in Agriculture
Employment in Industry
Employment in Services
Unemployment Rate
Imports of goods and services
US$ 47,171,604,057
Exports of goods and services
US$ 36,865,017,308
Total Merchandise Trade
FDI, net inflows
US$ 3,380,251,355
Commercial Service Exports
US$ 1,665,337,082
rice, jute, tea, wheat, sugarcane, potatoes, tobacco, pulses, oilseeds, spices, fruit; beef, milk, poultry
jute, cotton, garments, paper, leather, fertilizer, iron and steel, cement, petroleum products, tobacco, pharmaceuticals, ceramics, tea, salt, sugar, edible oils, soap and detergent, fabricated metal products, electricity, natural gas
garments, knitwear, agricultural products, frozen food (fish and seafood), jute and jute goods, leather
US 13.9%, Germany 12.9%, UK 8.9%, France 5%, Spain 4.7% (2015)
cotton, machinery and equipment, chemicals, iron and steel, foodstuffs
China 22.4%, India 14.1%, Singapore 5.2% (2015)
Country Risk Rating
A very uncertain political and economic outlook and a business environment with many troublesome weaknesses can have a significant impact on corporate payment behavior. Corporate default probability is high.
Business Climate Rating
The business environment is difficult. Corporate financial information is often unavailable and when available often unreliable. Debt collection is unpredictable. The institutional framework has many troublesome weaknesses. Intercompany transactions run major risks in the difficult environments rated C.
  • Competitive clothing sector thanks to relatively cheap labor
  • Substantial remittances from emigrant workers, located mainly in the Gulf states
  • International aid helping to cover financing needs
  • Moderate level of national debt
  • Favorable demographics: 45% of Bangladeshis are under 15
  • Economy vulnerable to changes in global competition in the textile sector
  • Very low per capita income
  • Recurring political and social tensions
  • Shortcomings in terms of business climate, especially regarding infrastructure
  • Recurring natural disasters (cyclones, severe flooding) which result in significant damage and loss of harvests

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