June 15, Colombo: Sri Lanka's Minister of Industries and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen will lead a high level trade delegation to Bangladesh next month to further enhance trade and investment opportunities between the two countries.
According to the Minister, the bilateral trade between the two countries tripled since 2010 but there are unexplored potentials.
"The two-way trade between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh has shown a strong growth trend. Bilateral trade between the two countries tripled since 2010 but there are huge unexplored potentials that we can still work on," Minister Bathiudeen said during a meeting with the High Commissioner of Bangladesh in Sri Lanka Riaz Hamidullah on Tuesday.
Minister Bathiudeen said Sri Lanka's exports to Bangladesh increased in the last five years adding that hi officials have been instructed to plan a strong trade and business delegation to Dhaka from Sri Lanka in July.
"We are looking for much bigger trade and investments to Sri Lanka from Dhaka as well in the aftermath of proposed high level Business Forum to be held along with this event, which is essential for B2B links," he said.
Welcoming a high level Sri Lankan delegation to Dhaka, High Commissioner Hamidullah said a high level Business Forum along with official trade talks is a great impetus for future bilateral business.
"Refreshing our present arrangements, for e.g. the Double Taxation Avoidance treaty, can also help if necessary. We can mutually start work for larger investments-I am pleased to say that the cost of doing business in Bangladesh has significantly decreased in recent years. Already many Lankan companies have invested with us," the High Commissioner said.
According to the Department of Commerce, total bilateral trade, which was at a mere US $48 million in 2010 has tripled to US$ 142 million in 2016. The balance of trade between two countries has always been in favor of Sri Lanka.
Among Sri Lanka's top exports to Bangladesh are Cotton, Plastics, fabrics, Soap and washing preparations, and lubricants. Sri Lanka's exports to Bangladesh at $ 35 million in 2010 too tripled (to $112 million) in 2016. Among top imports from Bangladesh to Sri Lanka are medicines, textile fibers and paper yarn, steel, apparel and cotton. The US $13 million imports volume to Sri Lanka from Bangladesh n 2010 also surged to $ 39 million by 2016.
According to the Commerce Department 45 Sri Lankan companies are already operating in Bangladesh at present with US $ 300 million investment. They are active in the sectors of apparel, banking, paper, and consumer goods.