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The EU works closely with Bangladesh in the framework of the EU-Bangladesh Co-operation Agreement, concluded in 2001. This agreement provides broad scope for co-operation, extending to trade and economic development, human rights, good governance and the environment.

Bangladesh has been a WTO member since 1995 and, as a least developed country, benefits from the EU's "Everything but Arms" arrangement, which grants duty free, quota free access for all exports, except arms and ammunition.

Trade picture

  • The EU is Bangladesh's main trading partner, accounting for around 23.9% of Bangladesh's total trade in 2015 and absorbing 46.7% of its exports.
  • In 2016, Bangladesh was the EU's 33rd largest trading partner in goods accounting for 0.5% of EU trade.
  • EU imports from Bangladesh are dominated by textile and clothing, accounting for 93.8% of the EU's total imports from Bangladesh in 2016.
  • EU exports to Bangladesh are dominated by machinery and transport equipment (51% in 2016).
  • From 2006 to 2016, EU28 imports from Bangladesh have more than trebled from €5,311 million to €16,272 million.

EU-Bangladesh: Trade in goods

Trade in goods 2014-2016, € billions
Year EU imports EU exports Balance
2014 12.4 2.0 -10.4
2015 15.1 2.5 -12.7
2016 16.3 2.7 -13.6

EU-Bangladesh: Trade in services

Trade in services 2013-2015, € billions
Year EU imports EU exports Balance
2013 0.5 0.8 0.3
2014 0.5 0.7 0.2
2015 0.5 0.6 0.1

EU-Bangladesh: Foreign direct investment

Foreign direct investment 2015, € billions
Year Inward stocks Outward stocks Balance
2015 0.5 0.6 0.1

Date of retrieval: 15/02/2017

More statistics on Bangladesh

EU and Bangladesh

As a Least Developed Country (LDC), Bangladesh benefits from the most favourable regime available under the EU's Generalized Scheme of Preferences (GSP), namely the Everything But Arms (EBA) arrangement. EBA grants the 48 LDCs – including Bangladesh – duty free quota, free access to the EU for exports of all products, except arms and ammunition.

In July 2013, in response to the collapse of the Rana Plaza factory complex which killed scores of workers, the EU took the initiative of launching a Sustainability Compact for Bangladesh with the aim of improving labour rights and factory safety in the ready-made garment industry. The initiative brings together the EU, the Government of Bangladesh, the USA, Canada - i.e. the main markets for Bangladeshi garment production - as well as the International labour Organisation (ILO). The Compact is based on short and long term commitments related to three inter-linked pillars:

  • respect for labour rights;
  • structural integrity of buildings and occupational safety and health;
  • responsible business conduct.

The Compact has contributed to tangible improvements in workplace safety, though respect of workers' rights remains a pressing issue in Bangladesh. The EU's Third Technical Report on the Bangladesh Sustainability Compact is available here.

Trading with Bangladesh