[ TRADE & MARKET ] 2021-11-28
BD-Malaysia chamber to celebrate 20th anniv
Increased bilateral trade and investment in focus
Bangladesh-Malaysia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BMCCI) is set to celebrate its 20th anniversary eying more bilateral trade and investment between the countries.

To this effect, the association will organise a business luncheon titled "Importance of FTA with Trading Nations for Bangladesh" on December 01 and a "Grand Gala Night" on December 13, 2021 at Radisson Blu Dhaka Water Garden.

Besides, BMCCI will sign a Memorandum of Under-standing (MoU) with Chittagong Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) to promote trade relation between businesses of the port city and Malaysia.

The announcements were made at a press conference organised by the association at a hotel in the city's Karwanbazar.

With BMCCI president Raquib Muhammad Fakhrul in the chair, the event was addressed by the association's secretary general Mahbubul Alam, vice-president Md Anwar Shahid, and the Anniversary Celebration Organising Committee chairman Syed Almas Kabir.

Detailing the programme schedule, Mr Kabir said the 20th anniversary celebration is going to be a flagship programme of BMCCI which is looking forward to boost bilateral trade relations further.

Referring to the trade imbalance between the two countries, he informed that Bangladesh imported aro-und US$ 1.57 billion worth of products and services from Malaysia against export of $ 306 million.

"Export to Malaysia is still low and in a bid to increase it, businesses need to explore Malaysian markets, beyond RMG, especially in the sectors like ICT, leather goods, pharmaceuticals, etc," he said.

He, also a former vice-president of BMCCI, said country branding is much needed to popularise Bangladeshi products in Malaysian super shops as the current products exported to the Southeast Asian country are mostly consumed by the Bangladeshi diaspora.

Meanwhile, Mr Shahid said the main reason of trade balance between the two countries is palm oil because Bangladesh imports huge volume of that edible oil against export of products largely limited to RMG.

"We need to diversify exports other than RMG," he said adding: there are about 0.6 to 0.8 million Bangladeshi nationals working in Malaysia doing mostly odd jobs but human labour is not considered as products.

Meanwhile, BMCCI president said the key aim of the celebration programme is to explore additional trade opportunities in Malaysia and bringing more investment from the Asian neighbour.

In reply to a question regarding signing free trade agreement (FTA) with Malaysia, he said, "FTA is not a private sector initiative as it is solely a government to government (G2G) matter."

However, Mr Fakhrul said for signing FTA with Malaysia, country branding is very important because it is very challenging to overcome the price competition in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region.

He also mentioned that the initiation of Sukuk bond in the country was an initiative of BMCCI as Malaysia is one of the pioneers in the world to introduce such financial instrument.
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