Bangladesh attached great importance to its relations with Pakistan and there were deep historic ties between the two countries, stressed the Bangladesh High Commissioner Ruhul Alam Siddique during a meeting with Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI) President Mohammad Nasir Mirza.
Underscoring the potential areas, he said that trade opportunities between Pakistan and Bangladesh could be explored in a variety of sectors including construction material, light engineering, surgical goods, sports goods, food processing, cotton yarn, tourism and pharmaceutical sectors.
The commissioner further said that the trade balance between both the countries has always been in favor of Pakistan. Exports from Pakistan to Bangladesh stood at $700 million while exports from Bangladesh to Pakistan were just $50 million.
Bangladesh is in fact the second top export destination of Pakistan in Asia after China and Afghanistan.
Pakistan’s major exports to Bangladesh have been woven cotton fabrics, cotton yarn, raw sugar, raw cotton, tanned leather, machinery and its parts and synthetic fabrics including silk and woolen.
Raw jute, tea and mate, yarn & thread of synthetic fibers and tobacco are some of the products that Pakistan imports from Bangladesh.
Ruhul Alam Siddique emphasized the need of having regular meetings to strengthen the bilateral trade ties between both the countries, adding that the last Joint Economic Cooperation meeting was held in 2007 which was a long time ago.
He also guaranteed his support to the businessmen present in the meeting and said that his office was ready to provide full support to the traders seeking Bangladesh visa.
RCCI President Nasir Mirza also spoke on the occasion and stressed the importance of Bangladesh being a key member of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) bloc. He said that the chamber was ready to cooperate in exchange of delegations and holding bilateral business conferences.
Highlighting areas of cooperation between the two sides, Mirza stated that bilateral ties could be promoted in the fields of tourism, education, agriculture, IT and pharmaceutical. “Bangladeshi investors can take advantage of investment opportunities in Pakistan,” he added.
Despite the general unfriendly political environment, trade has been considered one of the primary factors raising hopes of thawing the otherwise cold relationship of Bangladesh and Pakistan. It is hoped that this meeting would pave way for cordial relations between the two countries.