Italian Prime Minister Prof Romano Prodi yesterday said that his country could contribute in building infrastructure in the telecommunication, energy and public utility sectors in Bangladesh.
"Moreover a very positive role can be played (in Bangladesh) by our small and medium enterprises," the visiting Prime Minister said in a meeting organised by the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI).
Although Bangladesh enjoys a positive trade balance with Italy, the Italian Prime Minister expressed his belief that the full potential of the mutual trade ties remained largely unexplored.
"The totality of our business activities does not reflect the true potentialities of our economies." "Our complementarities should be better exploited," he said.
"There might be a lack of reciprocal knowledge among our business communities," the Italian premier said emphasising on mutual exchange of trade information.
The meeting was attended, among others, by Foreign Minister Abdus Samad Azad, Finance Minister Shah A M S Kibria, Commerce Minister Tofael Ahmed, Energy Minister Noor Uddin Khan, Shipping Minister A S M Abdur Rab, State Minister for Foreign Affairs Abul Hasan Chowdhury and FBCCI president Yusuf Abdullah Harun.
Prof Romano Prodi noted the usefulness of the small and medium-scale industries that can present excellent possibilities of co-operation in the form of joint ventures.
He said that Italy, one of the major exporters in the world, was now concentrating on improving trade relations with the Asian countries.
Yusuf Abdullah Harun assured the Italian businessmen of all possible assistance from the FBCCI.
Referring to the trade link with Italy, Harun noted, "trade volume (with Italy) remains low at 258 million US dollars and direct foreign investment from Italy is yet to reach a satisfactory level. We think the position can improve significantly with increased and meaningful communication and interaction between the private sector of the two sides."
The meeting concluded with the signing of a protocol of co-operation between the General Confederation of the Italian Industry and the FBCCI. Confederation official Giovani Corduni and FBCCI vice president Kazi Shafiqul Islam initialled the protocol.