Canada is keen to boost business with Bangladesh to cut the trade gap, Canadian High Commissioner Heather Cruden said yesterday.
Trade between the two countries currently stands at nearly $1.85 billion, and has significantly increased in the last two years, she said. Business communities from both countries should explore new sectors to increase bilateral trade, Cruden added.
The high commissioner was addressing a meeting while visiting the office of BSM Group, a Khatunganj-based commodity importing firm in Chittagong.
Cruden, who is leading a five-member delegation on a two-day visit to Chittagong, also met with leaders of Chittagong Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) later in the day.
The delegation included Elaine Sopiwnyk, director for science and innovation at Canadian International Grains Institute; Yvonne Supeene, head of baking technology; Ashok Sarkar, head of milling technology; and Kamal Uddin, trade commissioner of the high commission.
BSM Group Chairman Abul Bashar Chowdhury moderated the meeting with different traders who supply imported food grains to parts of the country.
Chowdhury said Canada, one of the largest food grain exporters to Bangladesh, has gradually become the first choice of local importers for the quality of its grains in the global market.
Currently around 40 percent of imported wheat, 90 percent of yellow peas, 60 percent of lentil and 90 percent of canola seed are being bought from Canada, he said.
Pointing to some existing bottlenecks in export procedures and transport systems in Canada, Chowdhury sought assistance from the delegation in this regard.
Canada exports agricultural products, but is looking to expand into pharmaceuticals, information technology and energy sectors, Cruden said at the meeting with CCCI leaders at the chamber office.
Canada is going to sell potash to Bangladesh in October under a government-to-government deal, she said.
CCCI President Mahbubul Alam underscored the need for easing the VISA issuing process by the Canadian High Commission.
The delegation later met Chittagong City Corporation Mayor M Monjur Alam at his office.