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Closure of visa office in Dhaka affects business with CanadaTuesday, September 25, 2012 > 09:41:25
Bangladesh needs to take necessary steps to diversify its export basket to Canadian market.
"We have huge potential in IT, plastic products, pharmaceuticals, bi-cycle, leather products, furniture, ceramics and footwear in the Canadian market and we should explore the opportunities very quickly," Masud Rahman, the outgoing president of Canada-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CanCham) told The FE in an interview recently.
He said Bangladesh has already grabbed a good position in exporting RMG in the Canadian market with a duty-free access to Canada since 2003. Bangladesh exported over $1.00 billion products, mostly RMG in 2011.
"However there is a barrier for business development between Canada and Bangladesh having no Canadian visa office in Bangladesh. The visa office is now in the Singapore which is slowing down the process of business development," Mr Masud said.
He said both way trade between Canada and Bangladesh would be $ 2.00 billion at the end of 2012 while in 2011, the bilateral trade was $1.6 billion.
"Many developed nations now think Bangladesh could be the next hotspot for business, provided we can ensure proper support in power, energy and infrastructure. According to the feedback, Canadian garments buyers are likely to increase their business in Bangladesh. We think garments business could be several billion dollars in the next few years," the CanCham founder president asserted.
He said Canadian province of Saskatchewan alone sold $229 million agricultural products to Bangladesh. Saskatchewan private sector and government wants to extend business with Bangladesh and stepped up steadily rising in sales of agricultural products mainly in wheat, peas, canola and lentils.
"Moreover recently we are importing Potash from Saskatchewan," Mr Masud added.
Highlighting the huge potentialities of closer and better business expansion in the areas of information technology (IT) between the two countries, Mr Masud said that CanCham is working hard along with Bangladesh Association of Call Centre and Outsourcing (BACCO), Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS) and GPIT, the first offshoot company of Grameenphone.
CanCham Bangladesh has strategic partnership agreements with BACCO, BASIS and GPIT to flourish country's IT business at both home and abroad.
The major objectives of the agreements are to create awareness for the Bangladeshi IT companies to build new capabilities and generate new business at home and abroad especially in the North American markets.
Bangladesh, which is currently exporting software to 30 countries including Europe, America, Canada, Japan, Australia and South Asia, has earned US$ about 31 million in 2009-10 and US$ 27 million in 2010-11 by exporting software.
Mr Masud hoped that the agreements would usher a new era in the outsourcing sector of Bangladesh that already positioned itself as a key location for consideration by enhancing delivery capability and skill availability, lower costs of operations and making focused investment in telecom and IT infrastructure.
Putting a thrust on better connectivity between the two countries, he said flights of both the countries should be allowed to run between Bangladesh and Canada.
At present 0.15 million diaspora live in Canada.