Business leaders and officials of Bangladesh and the Philippines have said Dhaka and Manila have vast opportunities for enhancing bilateral trade and investment as the two nations share many similarities.
They made the remarks at a webinar recently hosted by The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), Manila, Philippines; the Bangladesh Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BPCCI), Dhaka, Bangladesh; and the Embassy of Bangladesh in the Philippines, read a press release.
Pointing out the close historical relationship between the two countries since the independence of Bangladesh, Ambassador Francis Chua, chairman emeritus and director for International Affairs of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), emphasised the need for closer cooperation between them in the years ahead.
Ambassador Benedicto V Yujuico, President of PCCI, underscored that PCCI's Centre for Innovation could play a pivotal role in identifying the potential areas of cooperation.
Asad Alam Siam, Bangladesh's ambassador to the Philippines, said Bangladesh is the natural geographic bridge between South Asia and Southeast Asia and the potential for inter-regional trade is limitless.
Highlighting the progress of Bangladesh over the years and its relationship with ASEAN, Professor Dr Selim Raihan, executive director of SANEM, said there is tremendous room for growth in trade and investment.
Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia were the top four countries in terms of trade and investment with Bangladesh, whereas the bilateral trade with the Philippines was very small, he noted.
BPCCI President Akber Hakim has said the two countries should look into more South-South cooperation.
"Bangladesh could use the Philippines' vast experience in the IT [Information Technology] and BPO [Business Process Outsourcing] fields as well as use its expertise in the skills training area like hospitality and nursing; whereas the Philippines could benefit from Bangladesh's RMG [ready-made garments] and pharma sectors," he added.
He emphasised the need for targeted match-making to effectively benefit the two sides.
Rizwan Rahman, Director BPCCI, remarked that direct air-links between the two countries would go a long way in promoting trade and investment.