The Philippines considers Bangladesh as a potential market and would like to further explore it by strengthening ties between the two countries.
Jeremiah C Reyes, Philippines Commercial Attache' said at a seminar on “Promoting Bilateral Trade and Investment between Bangladesh & Philippines” organised by the Dhaka Chamber of Commerce & Industry (DCCI) in collaboration with Bangladesh Philippines Chamber of Commerce & Industry (BPCCI) on September 2 on the DCCI premises.
“We are experiencing a trade war between the USA and China, and we have to figure out if the war is an opportunity for us,” he added.
DCCI President Osama Taseer said the bilateral trade till now has been insignificant in terms of both value and share, hovering around US$65 million during FY2017-18.
“Bangladesh can develop its agriculture sector with knowledge transferred from the Philippines, skills in food production, processing, canning and packaging, IT, Business Process Outsourcing (BOP), electronics, tourism, etc. On the other hand, the Philippines can collaborate with Bangladesh’s RMG (Ready-made Garment), Pharmaceuticals and Ceramics sector,” Osama suggested.
He also highlighted the importance of direct flights between Bangladesh and the Philippines for increasing people-to-people contact.
Moreover, preferential trade agreements leading to a bilateral FTA (Free Trade Agreement) could open up substantial economic gains for both countries, he said.
The ambassador of the Philippines in Bangladesh, Vicente Vivencio T Bandillo, said in his written speech that the Philippines would like to export more to Bangladesh. They would like to see more Filipino companies taking benefit of the opportunities in Bangladesh for trade and investment.
They would also like to welcome more Bangladeshi exports to the Philippines. He also invited Bangladeshi companies to invest in the Philippines to boost bilateral trade volume.
Engr Akber (AL) Hakim, President of BPCCI and Director of DCCI, said that Asia is going to overtake the rest of the world in trade by 2020 on PPP (Public-Private Partnership) basis.
He also said the contribution of Asia to the world GDP is 42 percent on the basis of PPP. He added that by the year 2050 the size of the economy of Bangladesh and the Philippines will reach around US$ 3 trillion and 3.3 trillion respectively.
He urged the businessmen of the Philippines to import RMG, leather and leather goods, jute and jute goods, vegetables from Bangladesh. He mentioned that the Philippines receives $US30 billion as remittance every year through their skilled workforce.
He said the Philippines can also help Bangladesh in skill development, training for skill development, IT and IT-enabled services, Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), hospitality and nursing.
Ms Agnes Perpetua R Legaspi, Assistant Director, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Republic of the Philippines called for an increase in the existing bilateral trade.
She said, “Bangladesh can import electronics, home decor furniture, fashion, jewellery, fresh Halal food, organic beauty products from the Philippines.
The Philippines has FTAs with different ASEAN countries, and enjoys GSP facilities in the EU, the USA, Canada and Russia.”
She urged Bangladeshi entrepreneurs to invest in their country utilizing these facilities.
DCCI also hosted B2B matchmaking between the visiting Philippines trade team and their Bangladeshi counterparts. Ms Agnes Perpetua R Legaspi, Assistant Director, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Republic of the Philippines led the Philippines delegation.
Leo Marco C Vidal, Charge D Affaires, Embassy of the Philippines in Bangladesh, Jeremiah C Reyes, Philippines Commercial Attache' and President of BPCCI and Director, DCCI Engr Akber (AL) Hakim was also present during the seminar. DCCI President Osama Taseer Chaired the seminar.
DCCI's former President R M Khan, Directors Alhaj Deen Mohammad, Enamul Haque Patwary, Hossain A Sikder, Engr Md Al Amin, Nuher L Khan, Shams Mahmud, former Director Rizwan Ur Rahman were also present on the occasion.