Bangladesh was Australia’s 33rd largest trading partner in 2016 accounting for 0.3% of Australia’s total trade portfolio. Total merchandise trade (imports + exports) with Bangladesh totalled A$1.7b in 2016. Australia’s main exports to Bangladesh were vegetables, cotton, wheat and paper. Bangladesh’s main exports to Australia were clothing/textiles.
Australia’s service exports and bilateral investment with Bangladesh are miniscule. Student enrolments have been relatively steady at 6,000 persons a year. Bangladesh is the world’s eighth largest remittance recipient, with inflows equivalent to 8% of GDP, remittance flows from Australia remain small, but have risen almost 10 fold since 2010.
Australian firms such as Murray Goulburn Co-operatives, the Plexal Group, Queensland Cotton, Macquarie University, the SMEC engineering company all have significant operations in Bangladesh. Rapid urbanisation and rising living standards, has increased the size of the middle class to more than 30 million, offering increased potential for successful business within Bangladesh.