Pakistan-Bangladesh trade to cross $1b

Envoy urges for collaborative efforts to overcome emerging challenges

FAISALABAD: Bilateral trade between Pakistan and Bangladesh is growing at a rapid pace and it will cross the $1 billion mark by the yearend, Bangladesh High Commissioner Ruhul Alam Siddique said.

Addressing the business community at the Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FCCI) on Thursday, he said that Pakistan was very important for Bangladesh in terms of trade and the two countries must supplement and complement each other, instead of becoming competitors.

“There is enormous trade potential between the two countries and we must harness our skills and capabilities for the benefit of each other,” Siddique said.

The envoy expressed Bangladesh’s intention to cooperate with Pakistan in the fields of food processing, dairy and textile, citing that Bangladesh did not produce even a single bale of cotton, “but we are second in garment exports after China”.

He pointed out that a large number of Pakistanis were working in Bangladesh, but his country still needed skilled manpower for its textile sector.

“Bangladesh’s development is directly linked with the progress of the region and all regional states must concentrate on reactivating Saarc (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) and Safta (South Asian Free Trade Area). Furthermore, Bangladesh has signed only one free trade agreement (FTA),” he said.

“We have some problems in signing FTA with Pakistan, but we must make collaborative efforts to overcome the emerging challenges,” Siddique stressed, adding that he had good relations with the business community of Karachi and now he would develop similar linkages with the business circles of Punjab.

Earlier, FCCI President Atif Munir Sheikh said that in 2021, Pakistan’s exports to Bangladesh were valued at $815.6 million.

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