Bangladesh can be a major trade hub and bridge between businesses across the Asean, South Asian and South East Asian countries, FBCCI Vice President Joshoda Jibon Deb Nath said yesterday.
He made the remarks during a courtesy call with Vuong Dinh Hue, president of the National Assembly of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, held on Friday at the Hotel InterContinental in Dhaka.
The FBCCI vice president said, "Bangladesh will soon graduate from LDC countries in 2026, and it will try to enter into several FTA and PTA with South East Asian emerging economic tigers.
"Bolstering bilateral trade with Vietnam will provide Bangladesh access to new markets, especially with members of Asean."
On the other side, he added that Asean seeks external economic and trading relations with many developed and developing countries.
"With its economic potential and geographic rapport, Bangladesh can offer Asean a bridge between South Asia and Southeast Asia. Therefore, Bangladesh might go for regional comprehensive economic partnership (RCEP) with Asean to secure a win-win trading relationship," said Jibon Deb nath.
He continued, "Both Vietnam and Bangladesh are not only historically connected by our common struggles for right to sovereignty; as nations we are resilient, perseverant and dynamic. This year marks the Golden Jubilee of Diplomatic ties between our two countries.
"Besides trade in goods, we are also interested in increasing investment and business collaboration between the two countries. To diversify our export basket, we may explore our demographic dividend and technology of Vietnam through joint ventures investments in our SEZs.
In his remark, President of the National Assembly of Vietnam Vuong Dinh Hue said both Bangladesh and Vietnam share excellent bilateral friendship. Recently, both countries celebrated 50 years of diplomatic relationship.
"Bangladesh is the second largest trade partner of Vietnam in South Asia. Vietnam is interested in enhancing bilateral trade with Bangladesh, he mentioned," he said.
Vuong Dinh Hue invited the business leaders and dignitaries of FBCCI to visit Vietnam and explore the market.
Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and other related ministries will be working closely with the Bangladesh government and FBCCI to facilitate the trade and businesses of the two countries, he added.
Later on a discussion meeting titled, 'Forum on Policies and Laws to promote the economic, trade and investment cooperation between Vietnam and Bangladesh' was held at the hotel.
At the meeting, FBCCI Vice President Shomi Kaiser said economic and trade partnership has been a highlight of bilateral relations for the two countries. Two-way trade maintained a rising trend in recent years, reaching $1,102.77 million in 2021-22, of which Bangladesh export to Vietnam was $92.77 million and import from Vietnam amounted to $1,010 million.
Although Vietnam and Bangladesh do not have a Free Trade Agreement (FTA), both nations have strongly emphasised trade and the need to foster the best possible environments for their respective business communities and entrepreneurs to pursue trade and investment opportunities.
Shomi Kaiser said, "Our agro and food processing industry are now gearing for exports, having met the domestic demand. Our RMG sector is the second largest exporter to the globe after China. Among the world's top 10 green RMG factories, the top eight are located in Bangladesh. Renewable energy and environmentally friendly clean technology are increasing in use and popularity."
Among others, Ambassador of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam Nguyen Manh Cuong, Secretary General of FBCCI Md Alamgir, head of the International Wing Ambassador Mosud Mannan ndc and other business dignitaries from both Bangladesh and Vietnam were present at the programme