The Financial Express

Coronavirus may bring fortune for Bangladesh

FE Report | Published: February 28, 2020 10:50:59 | Updated: March 03, 2020 10:55:08

Visitors making inquiry at the US Trade Show 2020 at a city hotel on Thursday Visitors making inquiry at the US Trade Show 2020 at a city hotel on Thursday

The spread of new coronavirus (COVID-19) in China may bring fortune for a booming economy like Bangladesh as many countries have by now realised that dependence on a single country for sourcing products is risky, speakers said at a function on Thursday.

"That realisation can benefit Bangladesh if it takes proper preparation," said one of them.

Bangladesh could increase its export to the USA through prompt readiness and conducting research, the speakers said at the inaugural ceremony of the 27th US Trade Show-2020.

The US embassy in Dhaka and American Chamber of Commerce in Bangladesh (AmCham) jointly organised the three-day show at the Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel in the city.

Industries Minister Nurul Majid Mahmud Humayun inaugurated the fair as the chief guest while chargé d'affaires at the US embassy in Dhaka JoAnne Wagner, Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) executive chairman Sirazul Islam and AmCham president Syed Ershad Ahmed were present.

Terming Bangladesh the 52nd largest trade partner of USA, the industries minister said the bilateral trade between the two countries stood at US$ 9.0 billion in the last fiscal year (FY 2018-2019).

Besides, USA is the top country in terms of foreign investment in Bangladesh, he added.

He said the government has liberalised the country's trading system and reduced the non-tariff barriers significantly to attract foreign investment especially in the economic zones.

Mr Humayun said energy, infrastructure, communications, automobiles, ceramic, leather and leather products, agro-business, ICT, education, tourism, and real estate are the areas to facilitate the investors.

Speaking at the programme, the AmCham president said Bangladesh needs proper research and survey to diversify its export basket and increasing exports to USA.

Responding to a question, he said the country could take the place of virus-hit China in terms of exports to USA through proper planning.

He said that China exports thousands of varieties of products not just to USA but to the whole world. If Bangladesh wants to grab some fraction of this trade, the country needs to identify products where it can compete in the global market.

"Countries around the world have got the message that sourcing products from a single country is risky. That realisation can benefit Bangladesh if it takes proper preparation," he added.

Bangladesh is the third largest garments exporter in USA with an export of around $ 6.0 billion while Vietnam is the second with $ 13 billion and China tops with $ 24 billion, he noted.

Some 48 exhibitors representing over 100 US companies are displaying their products at 80 booths. This year, 11 new companies are taking part in the exhibition, according to the organisers.

During the second day (Friday) of the show, two seminars will be held on 'Education in the US' and 'Business in the US', while two other seminars on 'Activities of USAID' and 'America's Indo-Pacific Economic Vision' will be held on the last day of the exhibition.

The visitors will be able to visit the trade show with a Tk 30 ticket except for students from 10am to 8:00pm till February 29.


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