Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)– Bilateral trade between Bangladesh and Switzerland set a new record last year registering a 32 percent growth over 2010 as it reached US$ 337 million, crossing the $300 million mark for the first time.
In the 2011 calendar year, Bangladesh exports to Switzerland maintained their positive trend and increased by 26 percent compared to 2010, according to a Swiss Embassy press statement. 
Bangladesh exports to Switzerland totaled $205 million in 2011. More than 90 percent of Bangladesh exports to Switzerland comprised traditional items such as readymade garments (RMG), shoes and textiles.
The export of ‘new items’ like electronic and industrial machinery witnessed a moderate growth in 2011.
The Swiss Embassy said that despite sustaining relatively sluggish growth in the fourth quarter of 2011, Swiss exports to Bangladesh amounted to US$ 132 million, up by 45.2 percent compared with 2010.
It said the growth was fuelled by a boost in both chemicals and machinery exports to Bangladesh. The export of Swiss machinery to Bangladesh more than doubled in 2011 compared with 2010 and attained one of the highest Swiss machinery export growths in Asia. 
Interestingly, textile machinery, which used to represent more than 75 percent of the Swiss machinery export to Bangladesh, now comprises only less than half of the total machinery export, as other Bangladeshi sectors like electronic and electro industries increase their machinery imports from Switzerland. 
Chemicals export also grew by 42 percent, as did the export of precision instruments (up by 132 percent). The variety of Swiss exports to Bangladesh (industrial machinery, chemicals and precision and high quality instruments) strongly suggests Bangladesh’s rapid development in strengthening its industrial base.
Notwithstanding the rapid growth of trade, the Embassy of Switzerland is convinced that the business potential between the two countries is still insufficiently tapped and is constrained by several `bottlenecks’. 
These bottlenecks mainly concern investments. While Swiss companies already present are willing to expand their investments and new small-medium sized Swiss companies are interested to set up business in Bangladesh, a more investment-friendly business environment would encourage them to realize their plans, the statement added.
BBN/SSR/AD-10Feb12-2:15 pm (BST)