The long-standing friendly bilateral tie between Bangladesh and Canada has contributed to an enhanced trade relations between the two countries. The focus of this trade relation has, on one side, been the economic cooperation and, on the other, augmentation of the existing trade and commerce.
The volume of Bangladesh-Canada bilateral trade stood at US$ 1.8 billion in 2014. Bangladesh mainly exports apparel products, frozen fish, plastic items, headwear, footwear, ceramic products, toys, games and sports equipment and furniture to Canada. Bangladesh imports mainly red lentils, cereals, edible oil, oil seeds, miscellaneous fruit items, fertilizer, mechanical appliances, wood pulp, paper/paperboard, scraps, and optical, medical, scientific and technical instruments from Canada. Bangladesh is the second largest importer of Canadian food grains and other agricultural products in South Asia. Moreover, potential areas of trade from Bangladesh to Canada are shipbuilding, pharmaceuticals, leather and leather goods and IT.
Bangladesh High Commission in Ottawa has been promoting bilateral trade between Bangladesh and Canada and also facilitating investment to Bangladesh. Since 2014, Bangladesh has been enjoying the General Preferential Tariff – GPT facility (duty-free, quota free access to Canadian market, as GSP in EU) in the apparel sector. The facility will remain till 31 December 2023. The two countries, therefore, have close cooperation both at government and corporate levels to promote trade and investment.
Though Bangladesh and Canada enjoy healthy trade growth, yet Canadian investment in Bangladesh is still very insignificant. However, our liberalized investment policies particularly in the areas of infrastructure building have opened up new opportunities for Canadian companies. There are also opportunities for Canadian companies to invest in the areas of food and agro processing, IT and telecommunications, renewable energy, engineering, shipbuilding, services and hospitality sectors. Following the demarcation of our maritime boundaries with India and Myanmar, Bangladesh Government has been pursuing ‘Blue Economy’ which is expected to open up huge scope of foreign investments including those from Canada.
Bangladesh and Canada are currently negotiating Investment Protection Agreement (FIPA) which would help bring more direct investments from Canada to Bangladesh. The two countries have inked an Air Services Agreement in 2013. Once implemented, this will pave the way for more bilateral trade between Bangladesh and Canada as well as enhance people-to-people contact in the days to come.