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Bangladesh-Malaysia Chamber urge govt to sign FTA with Malaysia

Nasir A Chowdhury, the newly-elected president of BMCCI, presents bouquet to Industries Minister Amir Hossain Amu at the latter’s office in Dhaka on Sunday (15 march 2014)

Nasir A Chowdhury, the newly-elected president of BMCCI, presents bouquet to Industries Minister Amir Hossain Amu at the latter’s office in Dhaka on Sunday (15 march 2014)

The country’s top business leaders urged the government for taking initiatives to sign Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Malaysia in a bid to expedite the business opportunities in that country and thus reduce the existing trade deficit.

The leaders of the Bangladesh-Malaysia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BMCCI) came up with the call while the newly elected executive committee members of the association made a courtesy call to Industries Minister Amir Hossain Amu at the ministry on Sunday.

A free-trade agreement is an arrangement which eliminates tariffs, import quotas, and provides preferences on most goods and services traded among the countries that came under the agreement. If people are also free to move between the countries, in addition to FTA, it would also be considered as an open border trade, which can be considered at the second stage of economic integration.

A number of proposals on behalf of the BMCCI were also submitted to the Industries Minister.

The proposals include taking initiatives to relocate the Malaysian sun-set industry to Bangladesh, making Malaysia the largest destination for exporting manpower, establishing a close connectivity between Chittagong and Penang seaport and holding campaigns to highlight investment prospects in Bangladesgh.

In response, the Industries Minister said that the government is looking forward to export manpower to Malaysia. “The government is working to increase the number of manpower exported to Malaysia. The total number of Bangladeshi expatriates would rise to 15 to 16 lakh within years???.

The main aim of the government is to reduce trade deficit between Bangladesh and Malaysia, said Amu adding, “As we import products like palm oil from Malaysia in large volume, the country’s trade deficit with Malaysia rises???.

Data shows that Bangladesh experienced a trade deficit of $1.8 billion with Malaysia in the year 2012-2013. Total volume of trade during the said period was $2.0 billion. Of the amount, Bangladesh exported $101 million. Nasir A Chowdhury, the newly-elected president of BMCCI said that Malaysia is the 5th largest investors in Bangladesh. In term of Foreign Direct Investment to Bangladesh, the investment of Malaysian businesses to Bangladesh is $ 3.37 billion, he informed.

Still there are enough scopes for attracting Malaysian investors in different sectors like roads and highway, port development, power and energy, healthcare and medicine and textiles to invest in Bangladesh, he informed the minister.

In reply, the minister informed the businesses that the government has created a business-friendly environment in the country.

While talking to the journalists after the meeting, he also said that the Malaysian investors are interested to invest in healthcare, education and many sectors here.

Among others, Mainuddin Monem, Vice President, Helal Ahmed Chowdhury, Mohammed Lakiotullah, Ashraf H Chowdhury, Kamal Mostafa Chowdhury and Engineer Mohammad Badrul Hassan, directors of BMCCI were present at the meeting.

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Source: Daily Sun

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