PH, Bangladesh eye increased trade, investments

Filipino and Bangladeshi businessmen are pushing to improve the balance of trade between their countries as they also explore more investment opportunities.

Bangladesh-Philippines Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BPCCI) president Akber AI Hakim said the Philippines has “outshined quite a bit” Bangladesh in terms of exports and imports.

“In both countries, you will also notice that our imports are far greater than our exports so you know the trade, the balance there is not necessarily in our favor in the case of both countries,” he said in a webinar hosted by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI).

AI Hakim said Bangladesh and the Philippines could also jointly explore areas such as textiles and readymade garment (RMG), pharmaceuticals, processed food and tourism, among others.

He said Bangladesh’ main industries include textiles and RMG, leather and leather goods, pharmaceuticals, jute and jute products, shipbuilding and breaking, fish and seafood, and vegetables.

“Ninety seven of our pharmaceutical needs of the country are produced by our own pharmaceutical companies that are actually world class and we export to hundreds of countries in the world,” he added.

AI Hakim said the main industries of the Philippines, on the other hand, are semiconductor and electronic products, automotive and aerospace, food manufacturing, shipbuilding, textiles and RMG, chemicals, business process outsourcing (BPO), and tourism.

He said the Philippines can use digital infrastructure of Bangladesh to establish or work from there, while Bangladesh could use the Philippines vast experience in the information technology (IT) and BPO fields.

The Philippines could also benefit from setting up a skills training center in Bangladesh, he added.

PCCI chairman emeritus ambassador Francis Chua asked Filipino and Bangladeshi businessmen to “try to help each other” to have a balanced trade between the two countries.

Chua identified promising sectors for cooperation including pharmaceuticals, apparel, agri processing, food processing, light engineering, and others.

He said the PCCI hopes the two countries can work together on various opportunities, especially on trade and investments.

PCCI president ambassador Benedicto Yujuico said the business group also aims to help the Philippine government expand the country’s trade balance with foreign economies, utilizing cooperation agreements.

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