Bangladeshi apparel exporters and Sri Lankan businesses on Thursday agreed to use the strength of each other for boosting apparel export to the European market with the support of the governments of the two Asian nations.
The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association at a meeting with a business delegation led by Sri Lankan international trade minister Malik Samarawickrama discussed the possible areas for cooperation including value addition in export products and using Sri Lankan port to reduce export lead time.
‘We have discussed two things including export of some products to EU through Sri Lanka for getting better prices and using Colombo seaport to reduce lead time,’ BGMEA president Md Siddiqur Rahman said at a press briefing following the meeting.
Now Bangladeshi exporters use Singapore port to export goods and it takes 20-22 days but if the exporters use Colombo port the lead time would be reduced by 3-4 days, he said.
Siddiq said that the meeting decided to form a joint committee comprising the private sector businesses of the two countries and the committee would conduct a feasibility study on the proposals.
Samarawickrama said relations between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka were improving rapidly and they wanted to grow together through using the strength of the two countries.
‘We are here to discuss how the both countries can grow together and increase apparel export to the European market and other countries,’ he said.
Samarawickrama said, ‘We are interested to find a way so that the apparel exporters of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka can work together and use the strength we have.’
The Sri Lankan minister hoped that the ongoing process for signing free trade agreement between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka would conclude by the end of October.
‘Joint feasibility study on FTA has done. Hope it will conclude by end of October,’ he said.
Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin, president of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry, said that lead time was the main impediment to business growth and Bangladesh was interested to work with Sri Lanka to reduce lead time.
‘We are still in a business of match marketing as we are not able to maintain the orders of quick fashion due to lead time. Sri Lanka has some advantages and we are trying to work together for a win-win situation,’ he said.
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