With the aim of providing a platform to discuss the emerging business and investment opportunities and the underlying challenges of bilateral trade between Bangladesh and India in the new paradigm shift caused by the ongoing pandemic; the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has recently organized a digital conference, titled ‘Digital Conference on Doing Business with Bangladesh: Opportunities and Challenges’.
Sheikh Fazle Fahim, the President of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FBCCI), delivered an inauguration speech at the webinar, presided over by Shri V Muraleedharan, the Hon’ble Union Minister of State for External Affairs & Parliamentary Affairs of the Government of India.
Speaking at the webinar the President of FBCCI said, “The bond of heritage, culture, and humanity between India and Bangladesh have lead by examples. May all those who contributed to our highest level bilateral shared values receive their deserving acknowledgment as a symbol of humane contribution spearheaded by HPM Sheikh Hasina and HPM Narendra Modi. Since 2008, we are experiencing shining examples of a positive trend for greater engagements and cooperation. In 2019, we yielded US$9bn in bilateral trade.”
Commending leaders of both the nation for the humane bilateral contribution in working together in mobilizing the SAARC Covid-19 Emergency Fund at which Bangladesh has pledged US$1.5million, the president said, “From FBCCI we look forward to working closely with our Indian counterparts to address the new challenges and seek your support and cooperation in rebuilding and recovering from this crisis”
FBCCI has identified the Bilateral Value Chain Initiative (BVCI) as the way forward: backward linkage raw material from India to Bangladeshi production, for domestic market, finished goods DFQF market access to India and beyond. Light engineering, agro-processing, chemical, apparel, etc may be of the highest priority in undertaking bilateral value chain initiatives (BVCI) according to its president.
Highlighting the need for a collaboration he said, “Land port issues are there which we are confident to work out through public-private engagements. In the innovation front, Joint R & D in futures of works applied for skills, Knowledge transfer, and JV in 4IR, Fintech, IoT, robotics, Big Data, Data Analytics, quantum computing, quantum internet, etc are areas where we can work on.”
“A Mou between FBCCI and CII is an initiation of targeted and focused cooperation to maximize on bilateral value chain initiative (BVCI) beyond our nations”, he added.
Thanking the ally nation for their support in providing medical supplies and equipment to Bangladesh FBCCI’s president stated, “Fbcci symbolic goodwill gesture to our friends in India will reach shortly.”
Ms. Riva Ganguly Das, Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh attending the webinar said, “Both the nations have expanded infrastructure between both lands to ensure smooth import and export. We now have more options to empower bilateral trade by capitalizing on that developed infrastructure. For instance, the vast rail network between the two-nation can be a good example. The export and import of goods through the rail network can be beneficial for both the nation.
Mr. Abdul Matlub Ahmad, the President of India Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry(IBCCI) expressing his remarks on the issue stated, “The trade and business community has been thriving on the friendship between the two countries—a relationship that has led to the development of the two nations both politically and economically. We can do even more.”
Md. Sirazul Islam, Executive Chairman, Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) said, “India and Bangladesh are countries that share common roots. It is our closest neighbor and the greatest of allies whose contribution in our Liberation War in 1971 is simply unparalleled in the history of nations. We want to further cement our alliance for our shared economic interest and for the good of our people.”
Delivering the keynote speech, the State Minister of External Affair of India said, “Bangladesh has been the biggest South-Asian ally. The leaders of both the nation have undertaken several infrastructural transformational projects that have incurred business growth in terms of import and export between the countries. We have seen a fruitful relation within the power and energy sector and both the nation can capitalize on so much more.”
Mr. Muhammad Imran, the Bangladesh High Commissioner to India; Mr. Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, CII; Mr. David Rasquinha, Managing Director, Exim Bank of India also delivered on bilateral trade between the two nations in their speech.