Visiting Sri Lankan Industry and Commerce Minister Rishad Bathiudeen said Bangladeshi pharmaceuticals are of international standard which are being exported more than 200 countries. He said Bangladeshi pharmaceutical industry will experience a bright future if they invest in Sri Lanka. He said this in a call on meeting organized by Dhaka Chamber of Commerce & Industry (DCCI) and Sri Lanka Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SLBCCI) at Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel, Dhaka on 9 February, 2017. Sri Lankan High Commissioner in Dhaka Yasoja Gunasekera was also present during the meeting.
Welcoming the Sri Lankan Industry and Commerce Minister to Bangladesh, DCCI President Abul Kasem Khan said Sri Lanka is one of the closest neighbors and excellent friend of Bangladesh. Despite having good relation, bilateral trade between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka is far from our expectation level. In 2015-2016, Bangladesh imported from Sri Lanka were worth only US$45.016 million as against US$30.45 million exported to Sri Lanka. In order to deepen existing level of bilateral trade, sensitive product list under SAFTA needs to be revised, he said. He also stressed on direct marine connectivity between Chittagong and Mongla ports with Colombo and Trincomalee ports. He invited Sri Lankan investors to invest in gas-based industry, power, fertilizer, backward linkage of RMG, leather and leather goods, ICT, Education and tourism sector.
Sri Lankan Industry and Commerce Minister Rishad Bathiudeen said Colombo and Hambantota Sea ports are geographically placed in an advantaged area. He requested Bangladeshi exporters to use these ports to cut their shipping cost. Regarding free trade agreement (FTA), the Sri Lankan Industry and Commerce Minister said Sri Lanka is willing to sign FTA with Bangladesh. He said Bangladesh can initiate the process of signing an FTA with Sri Lanka. He said Sir Lanka exported 4600 products to India and Pakistan last year. He invited Bangladeshi businessmen to organize ‘single country trade fair’ in Sri Lanka to familiarize Bangladeshi products in Sri Lanka. He also said adjacent to Hambantota port there is a 15000 acres of land for industrialization and within 3 years it will be a 5 billion dollar industry over there.
Sri Lankan High Commissioner in Bangladesh Ms. Yasoja Gunasekera said many Sri Lankan companies already invested in Bangladesh. To boost bilateral trade, Chamber to Chamber relation should be strengthened, she said. She requested DCCI and SLBCCI to send business delegation to Sri Lanka and sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU).
President of SLBCCI Najith Meewanage, DCCI Vice President Hossain A Sikder, Directors Engr. Akber Hakim, Hossain Akhter, Humayun Rashid, Imran Ahmed, K. Atique-e-Rabbani, FCA, KMN Manjurul Hoque, Md. Alauddin Malik and former Director of DCCI Rizwan Ur Rahman were present during the meeting.