Move to open direct banking channel with Russia
High-powered trade team may visit Moscow next month
A move is underway to establish direct banking channel between Bangladesh and the Russian Federation, aiming to facilitate bilateral trade between the two countries, officials said.
In the absence of a direct banking channel, Bangladeshi businesses have to use a third country to export goods to Russia, which does international trade in its currency, ruble.
Presently, Bangladesh exports goods to Russia via European countries, including Germany, Turkey and India.
Traders said the existing export and import system with Russia is cumbersome, time-consuming and costly.
As there is no option to trade in an easy convertible currency with Russia, bilateral trade is not increasing, they added.
They also suggested introducing a better system of trade (export and import) with Russia, which would be time-saving and cost-effective.
"There is good prospect of growth in trade between Bangladesh and Russia. If the trade can be done in an easy convertible currency (US dollar), the volume of two-way trade will jump significantly," President of Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) Abul Kasem Khan told the FE.
Contacted, a high official of the commerce ministry said Bangladesh Bank (BB) has prepared a report with recommendations for establishing direct banking channel for hassle-free bilateral trade.
After getting the foreign ministry's advice on the BB's report/recommendations, a high-powered government trade delegation will visit the Russian Federation next month likely to the resolve the problems standing in the way of bilateral trade between Dhaka and Moscow, he added.
"A government delegation is likely to visit Russia next month to discuss trade-related issues," Joint Secretary of the commerce ministry AKM Ali Ahad Khan told the FE.
Bangladesh and Russia has maintained excellent relations over the years.
Russia supported Bangladesh during the War of Liberation and in post-war reconstruction.
Russia is now assisting Bangladesh in implementing Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant project.
Bangladesh mainly exports jute and jute goods, garment items, leather and leather goods and tea to Russia and imports machineries, mineral resources and wheat.
The annual trade volume between the two countries now stands at around US$ 1.0 billion and the balance of trade is in favour of Bangladesh.