The current $46 Mn bilateral trade between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh will improve further after two recent important events-the SL-B’desh Joint Economic Commission (JEC) talks and the Sri Lanka’s Expo 2012.
“We are pleased to see so many products from diverse sectors in this Expo. We believe we can order more from Sri Lanka” said a satisfied Dilip Barua, Bangladesh Minister for Industries who was in Colombo at end March.
Minister Barua expressed his satisfaction on Expo 2012 to Rishad Bathiudeen, Minister of Industry and Commerce.
“I am also pleased to inform you that we are quite happy about the recently concluded Joint Economic and Technical talks on 7 March in Dhaka, which took place after a lapse of 19 years” the technocrat Minister Barua said.
“The current $46 Mn bilateral trade between both countries shows considerable unrealized trade potential between us. By a synergised approach to international markets, we can gain more and maximise the 2011 Memoranda of Understanding between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh witnessed by Sri Lankan President H.E. Mahinda Rajapaksa and Prime Minister of Bangladesh H.E. Sheikh Hasina” Minister Bathiudeen said.
According to the Department of Commerce, though the two-way trade between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh has been at moderate and stable level, some improvements have been recorded during last 4-5 years. Sri Lanka’s exports to Bangladesh has increased by around 380% during the period 2001-2010 while imports from B’desh have also recorded a six-fold increase in 2010 compared to 2001.
Sri Lanka’s major exports to Bangladesh are dyed woven fabric of cotton, articles of plastics, narrow woven fabric with rubber thread, enzymes, coral and similar materials, and petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals. There is potential for further enhancement of trade volume between two countries by exploring market potentials available for new products which could be utilized through tariff preferences granted under SAPTA, SAFTA and APTA supplemented with the vigorous marketing / trade promotional campaigns.
Both Ministers agreed that while the 7 March JEC was a success, there was considerable unrealized trade potential between the two countries.
Minister Bathiudeen, in his opening remarks on 7 March said the SL-B’desh JEC is the most appropriate mechanism to implement the 2011 Memoranda of Understanding between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh adding: “Bilateral cooperation between the historic friends may also open doors of international opportunities.”