Business leaders recommend FTA between Bangladesh and Pak
Dhaka, Mar 30 2005 (UNI) Business leaders of Bangladesh and Pakistan today recommended pursuing a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the two countries to help boost bilateral trade and investment.
The recommendation came from a meeting between the visiting delegation of Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) and the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) here.
Business leaders from both sides were of the view that entrepreneurs from the two countries could set up joint-venture industries in many areas to complement and cooperate with each other’s businesses to reduce the prevailing trade imbalance that favours Pakistan.
"One of the best options could be setting up of joint venture industries in both the countries to promote each other’s businesses," said KCCI President Khalid Firoz Arfeen, who led the delegation of Pakistani businessmen.
He said Pakistani businessmen have vast experiences in different spheres like telecommunications, textiles, light engineering, banking, food processing, human resource development and female education.
"Pakistan is fairly advanced in light engineering, from which Bangladesh could benefit a lot through the formation of joint-ventures,’’ he added.
According to statistics, Pakistan exported goods worth 64.87 million US dollars to Bangladesh while its imports from Bangladesh totalled 45.11 million US dollars in the fiscal 2003-2004.
The major imports from Pakistan were textiles, chemical products, beverages, prepared foodstuffs, spirits, machinery and mechanical appliances, plastic goods, mineral products, vessels and associated transport equipment while Bangladesh exports to Pakistan included raw jute, tea, bamboo poles, pharmaceuticals, leather and leather goods, and the betel leaf.
Pakistan’s annual export last year was 12 billion US dollars with a 7 per cent growth in GDP and a 17 per cent growth in the industrial sector. It also produced 25 per cent of the total global cotton.
"We are expecting exports worth 14 billion dollars and an 8 per cent growth in GDP this year," said the KCCI president.
The FBCCI leaders said there is vast potential in setting up composite textile mills in Bangladesh to meet the existing demand of 3 billion metres of fabrics for its burgeoning garments industry.
They urged the Pakistani business leaders to pursue their government to remove such impediments to facilitate the export of Bangladeshi drugs to their country.