Friday, February 12, 2010

Bhutan-Bangladesh trade update

Twenty four members of International Business Forum of Bangladesh (IBFB) recently visited Bhutan to explore opportunities to invest in private sectors. A breakout session was held where business leader of both the countries had one to one meeting on topics of mutual interest.

Production houses in Bhutan like the Agro Industries Limited (BAIL) produces variety of fruit juices, jams, pickles, and mineral water. The industry exports all its products to Bangladesh and India.

The Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina on her visit to Bhutan in the month of November 2009 promised to waive 15% duty on 18 Bhutanese products,namely, cabbage, cauliflower, ginger, apple, orange, fruit juice (five varieties), mineral water, pear, cardamom, quinces, leguminous vegetables, minerals, Kele, and Kohlrabi.

The marketing manager of BAIL said, with waive in duties, the increase in the proceeds of the sale will also mean increase in those farmers’ income who sale their fruits and vegetables to BAIL.

Bhutan’s import to Bangladesh stood at about $12 millions in the fiscal year 2008-2009 which includes fruits, vegetables, processed foods and furniture.

While Bangladesh’s export to Bhutan includes readymade garments, Knitwear, frozen food and shrimp, tea, raw jute, jute products, leather and leather products, chemical fertilizer, ceramic tableware, furniture, fruits and vegetables, and handicraft products amounting to $ 0.6 million for the same year.

Lyonpo Khandu Wangchuk was positive about further strengthening the trade relations between the private business houses of the two countries.

The Bangladeshi Ambassador to Bhutan as well was buoyant about the present interaction. He said, “Both our countries are doing well economically. So, there are more opportunities than before. I understand both the delegations must have had long and detailed discussion. I believe, both sides have few areas where there can be immediate corporation, both in the private and as well as in government.”

The president of IBFB Mahmudul Islam Chowdhury as well was affirmative about doing brisk business for the benefit of both the parties. “The meeting was fruitful and I hope there will be follow up these interactions. We are grateful towards Bhutan Chamber for Commerce and industries for the opportunity. It was a success in the royal kingdom of Bhutan,” he said.

The interaction was done to identify common challenges and present solutions to the decision makers for positive changes in business environment not only for the development of the members alone, but also for the betterment of the country by providing leadership, advocacy, connectivity and support. Hence, IBFB will work as a Bridge between the Stakeholders and the Policy Makers.

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