Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi has said the government wants to double the earnings of Bangladesh by exporting various products to Canada.
He said Bangladesh's current export earnings from Canada total $1 billion per year.
"We want to double that in the next three years. To do that, we have to make more use of the potential of small and medium enterprises and women entrepreneurs. In this case, their proper training is essential along with the financial support," he added.
The commerce minister said Canada has recently stopped using plastic products in its own country.
"It has created a possibility for us. This is because the demand for jute products in Canada will increase as an alternative to plastic products. I hope that this will further expand the export opportunities of this sector from Bangladesh," he continued.
He was speaking as the chief guest at a programme organised to distribute trade professional certificates to 29 Bangladeshis of the first phase of "Export Launchpad Bangladesh" at a hotel in the capital's Gulshan on Saturday.
Certificates of "Export Launchpad Bangladesh" were awarded this year in recognition of those increasing trade capacity and assisting in entering the international market.
In the initial phase, certificates were issued to 29 people from nine industries, banks, trade chambers, and commercial establishments of the country.
The certification was provided by the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC), Trade Facilitation Office-Canada (TFO Canada) and Business Promotion Council (BPC).
Bangladesh High Commissioner to Canada Dr Khalilur Rahman, Additional Secretary to the Ministry of Commerce and Vice Chairman of the Export Promotion Bureau AHM Ahsan, and Additional Secretary and Coordinator of the Business Promotion Council of the same ministry AHM Shafiquzzaman were also present at the award-giving ceremony organised by Light Castle Partners.
Canadian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Benoit Prefontaine, Chief Executive Officer of the ITFC Hani Salem Sonbol and Executive Director of the Trade Prosecution Office-Canada Steve Tipman, also spoke on the Zoom-based online platform.
Benoit Prefontaine said that Bangladeshi companies have a lot of opportunities to export goods to Canada.
He further said many large Canadian companies import various products from Bangladesh and entrepreneurs in the SME sector can also export a variety of products to Canada, including agricultural food products.
He said Canada prioritises the SME sector and 90% of Canadians work in the SME sector.
There is no alternative to such training to create skilled manpower in this sector, said the diplomat, adding that he would extend all possible cooperation to increase the volume of Bangladesh-Canada trade.
"Export Launchpad Bangladesh" is a support-based programme – the main purpose of which is to increase the capacity of the country's potential business people and entrepreneurs in trade and to help them enter the international market.
Light Castle Partners is implementing the programme in collaboration with ITFC, TFO Canada and BPC.