Narinjara news

Infrastructure dearth retards trade growth with Burma

Dhaka, 3 June 03: Visa restrictions, lack of transportation, and absence of effective transaction mechanism have been identified as the as major hurdles to the growth of business between Bangladesh and Burma, a according to todayís the daily star.

Some Bangladesh business leaders said they had signed contracts with their Burma counterparts during Bangladesh single country fair in Rangoon in March this year. But they said no further progress has been made so far.

The business leaders speaking at a meeting between Federation of Bangladesh Chamber and Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) and the visiting five-members Burma business delegation led by Union of Myanmar Federation of Chamber of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI) President U Win Myint, held at the FBCCI conference room yesterday.

Bangladesh business leaders also pointed to Burmaís strict regulations, hindering growth of bilateral trade with its next-doorneighbour.

Bangladeshís trade with Burma faces hurdle due to stringent regulation requiring to export to a destination before they can import anything from there. Such regulation reduces trade, they said.

The business leaders said dearth of information is also the barrier to minimising trade imbalance between Bangladesh and Burma.

ď We donít have necessary information on Bangladeshi products having good prospect in Burma market and also the products of Burma which are demand here,Ē said A Rouf Chowghury, director of Federation of Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industries (FBCCI).

The existing trade balance is in favour of Burma. According to Export Promotion Bureau (EPB), Bangladesh exported 0.55 million US dollars to Burma and imported 14.76 million US dollars from Burma during July to December of 2002-2003.

However, Chowdhury hoped the existing trade gas would be in favour of Bangladesh after setting up of road link between the two countries.

Chowdhury also said there is enormous prospects of improving trade relations between Bangladesh and Burma, as they are members of five-nation economic alliance Bangladesh-India-Burma-Srilanka-Thailand Economic Co-operation (BIMSTEC).

UMFCCI president U Win Myint said Bangladeshi traders could export fertiliser to Burma as the country imports nearly 90 percent of required fertiliser every year.

He also said Bangladeshi jute and jute products, leather goods and medical supplies can find way to Burma.

Bangladesh exports pharmaceuticals, textile fabrics, and leather goods to Burma and imports vegetable, beverages, machinery and mechanical appliances, electrical equipment and animal products from Burma. #