The Daily Star | 27 November 2022
Businesses for signing FTA with Canada
Local businesses want the government to start the negotiation with Canada to sign the free trade agreement (FTA) in order to retain the duty-free market access in the North American nation.
The signing of a bilateral foreign investment protection agreement is important to facilitate the inflow of foreign direct investment from Canada to Bangladesh, said Masud Rahman, president of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Bangladesh today.
Canada granted duty-free market access to Bangladesh in 2003. Since then, two-way trade has been growing rapidly and it tripled from CAD$600 million to CAD$2.4 billion.
Bangladesh exported goods worth CAD$1.7 billion to Canada in 2018.
Rahman was speaking at an event to celebrate the 50 years of bilateral relations between Canada and Bangladesh at the InterContinental hotel in Dhaka.
Md Jashim Uddin, president of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry, said the apex trade body is playing a critical role to improve bilateral trade and investment relations.
There are immense opportunities for business between the two countries in the areas of leather, agro-foods and blue economy apart from garment items, he said.
Lilly Nicholls, high commissioner of Canada to Bangladesh, said this is a very special time for both Canada and Bangladesh.
Canada was the first country among the G7 nations that recognised Bangladesh after its independence and supplied food aid to the country.
Nicholls lauded the poverty reduction from 90 per cent to 9 per cent.
"We have a lot in common," the high commissioner said.
AK Abdul Momen, foreign affairs minister, praised Canada as a great friend of Bangladesh.
Bangladesh needs Canada’s general trade preference facility after graduation to a developing nation from the least-developed country in 2026, he said.
He sought cooperation from Canada to put pressure on Myanmar to take back around 1.1 million displaced Rohingyas who were forced to take shelter in Bangladesh.
Khalilur Rahman, the high commissioner of Bangladesh to Canada, spoke virtually.