Commerce minister Tofail Ahmed on Sunday expressed his hoped that bilateral trade between Bangladesh and Canada would exceed $3 billion by 2021 as the government took special initiative to increase export of lather and leatherwoods, jute products, frozen food and software to the country.
The minister called upon Canadian investors to invest in special economic zones, assuring that government would provide special benefits to the foreign investors in setting up manufacturing units in proposed SEZs.
Tofail made the call while inaugurating Showcase Canada 2018, a two-day trade and education at International Convention City, Bashundhara in the capital organised by Canada Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry under the support of the High Commission of Canada to Bangladesh.
Commerce minister said that Bangladesh was enjoying duty-free market access to Canada and country’s (Bangladesh) export to Canada amounted to $1.1 billion in the financial year 2016-17 while the import was about $600 million in the period.
He said that the showcase would work as catalyst to strengthen bilateral relationship between the people of the two countries in the area of trade and education.
Canadian high commissioner Benoit Prefontaine hoped that Bangladeshi students would be highly benefited from the showcase as the representatives of at least 17 educational institutions (Canadian University and college) have been providing necessary information through one to one meeting and education season.
He said that Bangladesh and Canada had a long and established relationship and the showcase would bring a new dimension to the already established strong trade relationship between the two countries.
Although the development assistance remained a large part of the Canada-Bangladesh relationship, trade is becoming more and more important every year, David Hartman, director general for South Asia of Global Affairs Canada, said.
He said that Canada was helping Bangladesh strengthen the environment for business and focused on three sectors including sustainable economic growth, health and education.
Citing the investment of world’s largest Canadian label manufacturing company Checkpoint in Bangladesh, Hartman said, ‘I would like to encourage other Canadian companies to follow their footsteps in this market’.
CanCham Bangladesh president Masud Rahman proposed formation of ‘Blue Ribbon Panel’ to explore possibilities of expanding trade and investment between the two countries.
He also urged the government of the two countries for signing a bilateral investment treaty to increase foreign direct investment from Canada in Bangladesh.
A total of 33 entities including Canadian educational institutes, Bangladeshi educational institutes and trading and manufacturing companies took part in the fair.
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