Narinjara news

Bangladesh Festival in Myanmar to foster geometrical trade growth

Star Business report
Source: The Daily Star, March 21, 2000, Dhaka

Commerce Minister Amir Khosru Mahmud Chowdhury said the weeklong Bangladesh Festival in Myanmar beginning on March 26 will help foster "geometrical " trade growth between the two neighbouring countries.
Addressing a briefing session with journalists on the eve of the festival, the minister said the trade growth between the two countries remains stagnant due to some avoidable circumstances but this time Myanmar government is willing to open its markets to the world especially to neighbours.
" We will try to derive maximum returns from the festival and make it a productive one by displaying our best products and services," he said.
Earlier planned as a simple trade fair, it has been extended to be a complete festival which will feature fashion show, food festival, cultural events, business seminar and golf tournament to make the Myanmarese consumers aware of what Bangladesh can offer, " Khosru said.
" We will take it as a test case and if it is successful, more festivals will follow in different countries to familiarise Bangladesh products in foreign markets," he said.
As a neighbouring country, he hoped, Bangladesh will be able to take advantage of the good business prospects with Myanmar " if we can build a positive image with our quality products and services."
Regarding infrastructure building to promote trade and investment, he said a jetty has already been built at Teknaf point eyeing immense potentiality of trade with Myanmar, which shares a 317- Kilometre land border with Bangladesh.
" The proposed coastal shipping agreement aims at establishing a shipping line that will establish sea links between the Bangladesh ports of Chittagong, Cox'sbazar and Teknaf and the Myanmar ones of Yangon, Akyab and Maungdaw", he added.
The Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) and the Bangladesh-Myanmar Business Promotion Council are jointly organising the festival.
The commerce minister will leave for Yangon on March 24 leading a 140- members delegation which comprises a large number of businessmen and representatives both from public and private sectors.
The commerce minister and his Myanmar counterpart Brigadier General Pyi Sone will jointly inaugurate the festival, which runs till March 30.
"Some 60 stalls will be set up which will showcase a wide array of products including pharmaceutical products, melamine, ceramics, corrugated iron sheet, electrical equipment, cosmetics, toiletries, newsprint, fertilizer, leather goods, bottled juice, RMG, tea and jute," council Chairman Rashed Masud Khan said.
"Though exact figure cannot be found, it is estimated that Bangladesh export to Myanmar stands at $ 22.3 million while import is valued at $ 1.3 million excluding the bulk informal trade that occurs in bordering areas," Abu Saleh, Vice Chairman of Sport Promotion Bureau said,
"The formal border trade with Myanmar started on September 6, 1995 but it is going very slowly due to heavy tariffs," he said.
Myanmar is a resourceful country, he said, which could also benefit from exporting timber, rice, maize, pulses, gems, limestone, shrimp, bamboo and other items to Bangladesh.
Mahmudul Haque, Vice Chairman of Bangladesh Myanmar Business Promotion Council, and other high officials of the EPB also spoke at the briefing session held at the board room of the Bureau. #