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Issue 01

April 2018

The inaugural publication of Policy Insights highlights the issue of the impact of automation on employment in its lead article. There are now clear indications that automation and the deepening of capital-intensive production processes will have profound implications for growth and job creation. The evidence seems to suggest that Bangladesh’s readymade garment production is still more labour-intensive than such industries in comparator countries. However, as export production technologies across countries seem to be converging, and if Bangladesh is going to be remain competitive, moving towards automation is inevitable – compromising employment generation potential. Import-competing sectors face similar realities. The policy implications of these developments require careful consideration.

Other topics in this issue include the impact of ride-share economics, with a focus on Uber-Pathao transport services for Dhaka residents; the spectacular rise (and fall) of Bitcoin in world finance; and the importance of air cargo for Bangladesh’s export trade, to illustrate the significance of the lifting of the ban by the United Kingdom on direct cargo flights Bangladesh. There is also an insightful article on growth forecasting exercises for Bangladesh.
This issue also carries a featured article on the political economy of trade protection – an issue that for Bangladesh has now become more relevant than ever. There is also an analysis of the World Trade Organization’s 11th Ministerial Conference, which took place in December 2017.