Bangladesh hopes to boost trade with PH: envoy

Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 24 2022 09:56 PM

MANILA—Bangladesh hopes to further strengthen trade and economic ties with the Philippines, its envoy said on Friday.

Speaking before a business seminar on prospects of bilateral trade and investment, Bangladesh Ambassador to the Philippines F.M. Borhan Uddin said bilateral trade between the Philippines and Bangladesh in 2021 stood only at around $110 million. 

While it has been an increase from around $79.1 million in 2020, he said the figure “does not sound impressive” after 50 years of bilateral relations.

Bangladesh’s export volume to the Philippines in 2020-2021 is $74 million while import volume from the Philippines is $50 million.

Uddin said business visits need to be intensified and stressed the need for high-level engagement and intensive communications between business leaders of the two countries.

He also called on for identifying prospective sectors for joint investments, full implementation of MOUs between the chambers of both countries, considering the formation of the business council between the two countries, and a review of existing agreements and MOUs.

“People-to-people contact is a precondition for strengthening bilateral cooperation. Our people-to-people contact is not remarkable. Frequency of bilateral visits of government and private levels has remained insignificant in the last 50 years. As a result, our two peoples do not know much about each other,” Uddin said.

"Exchange of visits between the business leaders of the two countries needs to be intensified to bring about changes in our bilateral trade and investment."

The Bangladesh embassy said there is great potential for business, especially in areas such as garments, pharmaceuticals, healthcare services, medical equipment, information technology, leather and footwear, light engineering, electronics and electrical equipment, automobiles, plastics, shipbuilding, ceramics, agri-food processing, jute and jute goods.

Bangladesh is one of the world’s fastest-growing economies with 7%+ average GDP growth in the last 5 years, posting positive growth even amid the pandemic. 

Its population is at 160+ million with 45% of its population aged below 24 years and 70% aged below 40.

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