Tofail seeks duty-free market access to KL

Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed today urged Malaysia to give duty-free market access for Bangladesh products to further boost trade ties between the two countries.

"We expected that Malaysia, like other countries, would also award us duty-free market access. But it is yet to happen. I would like to request the Malaysian government to award duty-free market access for our products," he said.

He made the request while addressing the inaugural session of the Bangladesh Trade and Investment Summit 2016 in Kuala Lumpur, said a press release here.

The Bangladesh Malaysia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BMCCI) in collaboration with the High Commission of Bangladesh in Malaysia and Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) hosted the event with the theme 'Sustainable Business: Road to Progress'.

The event was supported by Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (BEZA), Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority (BEPZA), Public Private Partnership Authority Bangladesh, Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) and High Commission of Malaysia in Bangladesh.

The trade balance between Bangladesh and Malaysia is always in favour of Malaysia.

In 2014-2015, export from Bangladesh to Malaysia was US$ 140 million while import from Malaysia to Bangladesh was US$ 1.2 billion. In 2015-2016, export from Bangladesh to Malaysia was US$ 190, which is an indication of a strong trade relation between the two countries.

Tofail said the present government has undertaken an initiative to set up 100 Economic Zones throughout the country.

"Malaysia can take the advantage of this opportunity and select an Economic Zone for Malaysian business," he added.

He called upon the Malaysian investors to undertake new investment ventures in fast growing manufacturing, services and infrastructure sectors.

Relocation of labour-intensive industries in the textile and accessories, furniture processing, agro-processing industries, electronics industries and other Small and Medium Industries from Malaysia might be the most promising options, he said.

While investment in the service sectors like tourism, healthcare and infrastructures like toll roads, bridges, power and gas generation would also be attractive to Malaysian investors, he added.

"Malaysia and Bangladesh stand as natural allies. Closer cooperation in investment and trade between the two countries would bring immense impact on the development of their economies," he added.

Malaysian Deputy Minister for International Trade and Investment Haji Ahmad Bin Maslam, Bangladesh High Commissioner in Kuala Lumpur Md Shahidul Islam, Bangladesh Malaysia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BMCCI) President Md Alamgir Jalil, chairman of the Summit organising committee Syed Nurul Islam and Managing Director and CEO of The City Bank Limited Sohail RK Hussain, among others, spoke on the occasion.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)