The Bangladesh-Malaysia bilateral chamber will hold an exposition on Bangladesh in Kuala Lumpur this year to boost two-way trade and lure Malaysian investment.
The leaders of Bangladesh-Malaysia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BMCCI) informed foreign minister Abul Hasan Mahmood Ali of the plan when they met him at his office on Sunday.
The “showcase Bangladesh”, the third of its kind, would be held from Nov 14-16.
Bangladesh High Commission in Malaysia, the Malaysia South-South Association (MASSA), Malaysia External Trade Development Cooperation (MATRADE), and the Malaysian Industrial Development Authority (MIDA) would support the endeavour.
The chamber leaders said Malaysia, though a major source of Bangladesh’s foreign direct investment and manpower exports, was still a paltry market for Bangladesh’s businesses.
In the two-way trade that crossed $2 billion last year, Bangladesh’s exports accounted for only about $100.11 million.
Bangladesh has so far attracted Malaysian foreign direct investment of about $3.37 billion.
The bilateral chamber felt that there was a huge scope of increasing exports to Malaysia and offered several suggestions to the foreign minister to narrow the trade gap.
One of them sought the Bangladesh mission’s support to organise the exposition.
They also suggested the strengthening of the labour and commercial wings of the Bangladesh High Commission in Malaysia and the creation of awareness in that country about Bangladeshi products.
The chamber leader urged the government to begin immediate negotiations to seize the opportunity to send the maximum number of workers against Malaysia’s present demand of 110,000 workers.
They also recommended initiatives to obtain the permission of the Central Bank of Malaysia to open exchange houses of Bangladeshi banks to enable Bangladeshi workers make legal remittances.
They also advocated the signing a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Malaysia that they said could attract greater FDI with Malaysian manufacturing units relocating in Bangladesh to take advantage of lower labour costs.
The foreign minister assured them of full support to give Bangladesh’s export a boost, according to a media release.
The chamber President, Nasir A Choudhury, led their members of the Board of Directors in the meeting.
Vice President ASM Mainuddin Monem, Treasurer Syed Almas Kabir, Directors Helal Ahmed Chowdhury, Eng Mohammad Badrul Hsssan, Yesmin Ipphat, and Secretary Hasanur Rahman Chowdhury were present, among others.