Produce items that KL needs
Dhaka and Kuala Lumpur should have an “equal aggressive role” to minimise the chronic trade gap between the two nations, ministers of both countries said at the inaugural session of Showcase Bangladesh'12 in Malaysia yesterday.
They also pointed out some structural issues that need to be addressed urgently to boost trade between the two countries and narrow the trade gap that is heavily in favour of Malaysia right now.
In 2010-2011, Bangladesh exported products worth $43.87 million to Malaysia while imported $1759.60 million.
Datuk Mustapa Mohamed, international trade and industry minister of Malaysia, told the function, “There are some structural issues that need to be addressed…there is a trade gap and we wish to narrow it.”
“You [Bangladesh] need to produce the products that we need. Be more aggressive to promote your products in Malaysia,” he said.
On the proposed free trade agreement with Bangladesh, Mohamed said they are working on it. “There will be some progress on the issue within next two months.”
Bangladesh Commerce Minister GM Quader, who attended the function as special guest, said, “We strongly believe that there are potentials for more Bangladeshi products in the Malaysian market.”
Though the Malaysian market is rather free, there are some non-tariff barriers in the form of import licensing or permit and standardisation requirements for agricultural and food products, he said.
“That is why our exporters are facing difficulties to tap the full potentials. We hope these barriers can be eliminated through negotiations,” Quader told the function held at Merdeka Square.
The commerce minister called upon Malaysian investors to undertake new ventures of investment in Bangladesh's fast growing manufacturing, services and infrastructure sectors.
“Malaysia is one of the largest investors in Bangladesh…though 84 Malaysian companies have already invested in Bangladesh, there is still enough scope for further investment,” he observed.
Quader said closer cooperation in investment and trade between the two countries would bring immense impact on the development of the two countries.
Bangladesh is keen to strengthen political, economic and commercial ties with Malaysia so that people of both countries benefit out of it, he added.
Bangladesh Environment and Forests Minister Hasan Mahmud, who was present at the function, said, “Bangladesh is an ideal place for Malaysia for further investment.”
He also said strengthening people-to-people contact and business ties is important for mutual benefit.
Bangladesh Malaysia Chamber of Commerce and Industry in collaboration with Bangladesh High Commission in Malaysia, Malaysia South-South Association, Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation has arranged the three-day trade show.