Narinjara news

Reported by Shwe Lin Yun

Cox'sbazaar, 9
th March 02: With a border trade agreement between Burma and Bangladesh already in effect, Bangladesh will launch a weeklong marketing festival in the Burmese capital of Rangoon on March 26th.

Towards boosting the export volume from Bangladesh the festival is expected to attract a lot of Burmese traders and importers. For Bangladesh it is the first time that the foreign and commerce ministries have acted in co-ordination to increase trade volume with Burma. Aimed at introducing a number of Bangladeshi export items, the Bangladesh Festival will include several stalls of manufacturers and exporters, a food festival, cultural events, a fashion show and a seminar on prospects of investment. A golf tournament involving the visitors from Bangladesh, Myanmar junta officials and businessmen is also likely to be held.

All the extravaganza have been aimed at attracting the Burmese people into what an official said as 'more participation and engagement.' The 60 member Bangladesh delegation headed by Commerce Minister Amir Khasru is due to leave Dhaka on March 24, two days ahead of the festival.

Recently the Biman, Bangladeshi Airlines, has commissioned a new flight route from Chittagong to Rangoon besides restoring the disrupted Biman flights from Dhaka to Rangoon, opening up tremendous opportunities for the business communities from both the countries for increasing trade volume.

Products like toiletries, cosmetics, newsprint, fertilizer, ceramics, cables, leather goods, textiles and pharmaceutical products will be given weight in the festival.

To cap the event a coastal shipping agreement between the two countries will be signed, which will provide sea links among the ports of Chittagong, Cox'sbazaar and Teknaf on Bangladesh side, and Maungdaw, Sittwe (Akyab) and Rangoon on Burmese side. Once operational an old trading route in the region will once again come to life. Bangladesh exported goods worth US $ 22.3 million to Burma while imported products worth US $ 1.3 million in the last fiscal. Many traders in the border areas said that this figure does not include the volume of age-old clandestine smuggling between the two countries. #