Malaysian businesses are interested to explore trade and investment opportunities in Bangladesh, especially in the chemical segment.
They have expressed the interest at a seminar on Monday being encouraged by the growth of industries like textile and garment, and pharmaceuticals that mostly consume chemicals.
Bangladeshi business people, on the other hand, stressed on signing free trade agreement between the two countries, relocating Malaysian sun-set industries to Bangladesh and investment especially in the light engineering and agro-processing sectors of the country.
The issues came up for discussion at a seminar jointly organised by Bangladesh Malaysia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BMCCI) and Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE) at BMCCI office in the city.
Acting high commissioner of Malaysia to Bangladesh Amir Farid Abu Hassan and BMCCI president Syed Moazzam Hossain, among others, were present at the seminar.
An eight-member visiting delegation from MATRADE, led by its director of oil and gas, chemical and energy Jai Shankar, also attended the seminar.
Addressing the seminar, Mr. Hassan said: "We constantly encourage Malaysian companies to seek trade and investment opportunities that are available in Bangladesh - not just in Dhaka but that of other cities like Chattogram."
Mr. Jai Shankar said the purpose of the mission is to explore trade and investment potentials in chemicals and chemical products in Bangladesh.
"While, we understand, the prominence of suppliers such as China, India and EU in Bangladesh's chemicals industry ecosystem, our focus is more towards positioning Malaysia as one of the main options for environmentally-friendly chemical products," he said.
Bangladesh imported chemicals worth US$ 2.07 million between 2017 and 2018 which was only $ 720,581 ten years ago, the seminar was told, citing the central bank data.
The country's textile and garment sector is the biggest consumer of the imported chemicals, followed by pharmaceuticals, food processing, cosmetics and toiletries, leather and plastics, speakers said.
The BMCCI president sought government policy supports, including ensuring investment-friendly environment to encourage more foreign investment in the country.
Trade between Malaysia and Bangladesh recorded a significant growth of over 43 per cent to $ 2.50 billion in 2018 compared to $ 1.74 billion in 2017.