KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia and Bangladesh’s private sectors should further enhance cooperation and expand the base and range of goods traded between the two countries as the current trade volume is narrow now, says International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed.Malaysia and Bangladesh bilateral trade grew by 65 per cent to RM2.48 billion in 2008 from RM1.598 billion in 2007.
Malaysia’s exports to Bangladesh totalled RM2.285 billion while imports amounted to RM197.1 million.
“Imports exceeded US$60 million in 2009,” he said, adding that the figures point to vast two-way trade expansion potential.
On the government side, there was a need to put in place a preferential regional arrangements under the Group of Eight Islamic Developing Countries (D8) and the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC), he said at the Showcase Bangladesh 2010.
“On the part of the private sector, exhibitions such as this one to introduce Bangladesh products in Malaysia is a first step towards narrowing our trade gap.
“We strongly encourage Bangladesh companies to find suitable local partners to expand business presence in Malaysia,” said Mustapa.
He said Bangladesh companies should also use Malaysia as a “bridge” to market their products in Southeast Asia and in the Far East.
Currently, Malaysia’s major exports to Bangladesh are palm oil, chemical and petroleum products, while Bangladesh’s exports to Malaysia are textile and textile products, seafood, agricultural goods and handicrafts.
Malaysia’s major investments in Bangladesh are by TM International, Westmont Power, Elpiji Malaysia, KPJ Group and K&T Logistics.
As of September 2009, Malaysia’s investments in Bangladesh totalled RM5 billion.
On possible Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Bangladesh, Mustapa said Malaysia was keen to have more FTAs with a number of friendly nations.
However, there has been no formal discussions with regard to FTA with Bangladesh.
“For now, there has been proposals to reduce tariffs on 19 items from Bangladesh including ceramics,” he added. — Bernama