Businesspeople from both Bangladesh and Sri Lanka on Saturday stressed boosting bilateral trade and investment between the two countries for further expansion of economic ties and cooperation.
Both the countries can also work together for enhancing tourism, fishing, and extracting maritime resources, they said.
They made the call at a programme titled ‘Bangladesh-Sri Lanka investment and business dialogue: moving towards greater economic partnership’ held at a hotel in Dhaka.
The Bangladesh Investment Development Authority and the Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry jointly arranged the dialogue with the support of the foreign ministry.
Sri Lankan president Maithripala Sirisena attended the programme.
Sri Lankan foreign minister Ravi Karunanayake and Bangladesh foreign minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali were also present at the programme.
Businesspeople also welcomed the decision of the governments for signing free trade agreement between the two countries.
They said that a stronger relationship between the two countries would boost the ‘Look East’ policy and regional trade and cooperation.
BIDA executive chairman Kazi M Aminul Islam and Chamber of Young Lankan Entrepreneurs chairman Kushan Kodituwakku presented two separate keynote papers on the business and investment of the respective countries.
Kushan urged for exploration of the opportunities to increase trade and investment between the two countries.
Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry president Md Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin said there were huge opportunities to increase the bilateral trade volume, which now remained at a very lower level.
The annual trade volume is now only $30-$40 million, which is totally frustrating, he said, adding that businesspeople from Bangladesh want to expand trade and investment relationship with Sri Lanka.
MCCI president Nihad Kabir said businesspeople from the countries would have to work to bring result in expansion of trade and investment as many talks have taken place on the issue.
Signing of the FTA will also help improve the situation, she said.
She also stressed working together in the fields of tourism, fishing and maritime-related sectors.
Former MCCI president Syed Nasim Manzur said that adoption of the ‘Look East’ policy would benefit both the countries as consumption in the developed countries had become either stagnant or stalled.
Laugfs Holdings Ltd, Sri Lanka chairman WKH Wegapitiya said that there were similar opportunities and scenarios prevailing in the both countries, so businesses from both the countries could work together.
It would also help divert businesses from West to East, he said.
He said the proposed FTA would help the countries to boost trade and investment.
Ceylon Biscuits Group director Rasith Wickramasingha and some other businesspersons spoke at the meeting.
Want stories like this in your inbox?
Sign up to exclusive daily email
More Stories from Trade & Commerce