The long-standing friendly relations between Bangladesh and Canada has contributed to a greater trade increase between the two countries. The current bilateral trade between Bangladesh-Canada is US$ 2.42 billion (2019) (source: Trade Data Online: www.ic.gc.ca). Bangladesh has been enjoying General Preferential Tariff (GPT) facility (duty-free, quota free access (DFQF) with Canada: this will be in force till December 2023.
Bangladesh exports to Canada:
Bangladesh mainly exports apparels, frozen fish, plastic items, head wear, footwear, ceramics, toys, games and sports equipment and furniture to Canada.
Bangladesh imports from Canada:
Bangladesh imports red lentils, cereals, fruit items, fertilizer, mechanical appliances, wood pulp, paper and paperboard, scraps, optical instruments, medical & scientific instruments from Canada. Bangladesh is the second largest importer of Canadian food grains and other agricultural products in South Asia.
Potential exports from Bangladesh:
Potential trade areas between Bangladesh and Canada are pharmaceuticals, leather and leather products, software, ICT collaboration, jute and jute products, textile, handicrafts, vegetables, bi-cycle, high-end RMG etc. The Government of Bangladesh through its’ Missions abroad consistently working hard to increase export volume through trade diversification and business to business contacts.
Potential exports from Canada:
Fertilizers, value added agro products, grains, lentils, chickpeas, canola seed/canola oil, light and heavy machineries, construction materials, steel and iron related products, medical equipment, locomotive, solar power accessories, green energy and petroleum and petro-products.
Investment in Bangladesh:
Bangladesh’s liberalized investment policies particularly in the areas of infrastructure building have opened new opportunities for Canadian companies. Canadian companies can invest in food processing, agro-processing, IT and telecommunications, renewable energy, green tech industries, light and heavy engineering, shipbuilding and service sectors i.e. tourism, hospitals etc.
Bangladesh is pursuing ‘Blue Economy’ after the delimitation of the maritime boundaries with India and Myanmar. This has opened a wide horizon of foreign investments opportunities for Canada. Bangladesh and Canada are currently negotiating Foreign Investment Protection Agreement (FIPA), which will help to attract more direct investments from Canada. Both the countries have inked an Air Services Agreement; Bangladesh is expected to launch direct Biman flight to Toronto, Canada soon. Such direct flight to Canada will pave the way for more bilateral trade and strengthening people-to-people contact.
Canadian economic experience and expertise are of strategic interest to Bangladesh. Traditional trade relations between Bangladesh and Canada has been limited within imports of food-grains, minerals, and fertilizer (Potash) to Bangladesh, and apparel and footwear exports to Canada. The trade potentials between the two countries are still untapped. Bangladesh’s competitive strengths in apparel, leather goods, pharmaceuticals, frozen seafood, ceramics, jute products, ICT and electronics may diversify our export basket with Canada. In addition, Bangladesh’s growing energy market and infrastructural development present distinct opportunities for Canadian investors.
The fastest growing Bangladesh economy merits digital technology, artificial Intelligence, investment banking, tertiary health care, biological sciences, agro value chain, agro-machinery, light engineering, energy efficiency and logistics. As a Middle-Income country, Bangladesh will require innovative financial services and tertiary medical care where Canada would find big opportunity.
Strategic trade initiatives will increase trade and investment. In a bid to increase proper understandings on the potential trade and investment between the two countries, Bangladesh Consulate General in Toronto organized the first ever “Bangladesh-Canada Business Forum -2019” in collaboration with Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) in September 2019. The Business Forum comprised of high-level deliberations, presentations and panel discussions. The Business Forum was also marked by signing of an MoU between the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) and Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC). This is the first ever MOU on ‘Businesses Cooperation’ signed with any Chamber in Canada.