As the latest data showed a three-fold total trade jump with Bangladesh (including a three-fold rise in exports!) Sri Lanka's high-level talks with Bangladesh for even bigger trade and investments are now slated for next month in Dhaka.
"Bilateral trade between the two countries tripled since 2010 but there are unexplored potentials" said Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen on 12 June. Minister Bathiudeen was addressing HE High Commissioner of Bangladesh in Sri Lanka Riaz Hamidullah on 12 June at the Ministry of Industry and Commerce.
"The two-way trade between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh has shown a strong growth trend. Bilateral trade between the two countries tripled since 2010 but there are huge unexplored potentials that we can still work on. Even our exports to Bangladesh increased in the last five years" said Minister Bathiudeen and added: "To enhance trade and investment opportunities between both countries further, I have instructed my officials to plan a strong trade and business delegation to Dhaka from Sri Lanka this July. We are looking for much bigger trade and investments to Sri Lanka from Dhaka as well in the aftermath of proposed high level Business Forum to be held along with this event, which is essential for B2B links."
According to the Department of Commerce, total trade between both countries that was at a mere US $48 Mn in 2010 has tripled to US$ 142 Mn in 2016. The balance of trade between two countries has always been in favour of Sri Lanka. Among Sri Lanka's top exports to Bangladesh are Cotton, Plastics, fabrics, Soap and washing preparations, and lubricants. Sri Lanka's exports to Bangladesh at $ 35 Mn in 2010 too tripled (to $112 Mn) in 2016. Among top imports from Bangladesh to Sri Lanka are medicines, textile fibres and paper yarn, steel, apparel and cotton. The US $13 Mn imports volume to Sri Lanka from B'desh in 2010 also surged to $ 39 Mn by 2016.
"We welcome a high level Sri Lankan delegation to Dhaka" said HE Ambassador Hamidullah responding to Minister Bathiudeen, and added: "A high level Business Forum along with official trade talks is a great impetus for future bilateral business. Refreshing our present arrangements, for e.g. the Double Taxation Avoidance treaty, can also help if necessary. We can mutually start work for larger investments-I am pleased to say that the cost of doing business in Bangladesh has significantly decreased in recent years. Already many Lankan companies have invested with us."
45 Lankan companies are already operating in Bangladesh at present with US $ 300 Mn investment. They are active in the sectors of apparel, banking, paper, and consumer goods.