Philippines Bangladesh Business Council
MANILA, Philippines (BBN)-The Philippines-Bangladesh Business Council (PBBC) was launched in Manila on January 21 aiming to boost trade relations between the two friendly countries.
Bangladesh has great potential in the sector of ready-made garments, ceramics, jute products and pharmaceuticals and those could be exported to the Philippines.
The trade council launching ceremony took place when a six-member Bangladesh business delegation visited Manila from January 18 to 22.
Rashed Maksud Khan, president of Bangladesh-Philippines Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BPCCI), led the team.
Participating in the launching ceremony, Bangladesh Ambassador John Gomes invited Philippines businessmen to do direct business with Bangladesh and import garments directly to the Philippines.
He pointed out that many Bangladesh small traders are now bringing ready-made garments to the Philippines on piecemeal basis.
Philippines Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), Department of Trade and Industry and the Bangladesh embassy joined the ceremony in line with the objectives of the Bangladesh-Philippines Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BPCCI) which was formed in Dhaka last year.
The idea of PBBC was floated when another delegation of Bangladesh including Bangladesh Bank Governor Dr. Atiur Rahman and Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed visited Manila in May last year.
During the visit, they expressed their hope and belief that there are ample opportunity for enhanced trade relations between Bangladesh and the Philippines.
The potential of increased trade relations between the two
Many Filipino workers are going to Bangladesh to join in textile and RMG sector.
Both the countries have similarity in the field of manpower, specially overseas employment, infrastructure, economic and political development etc.
According to Bangladesh Ambassador John Gomes, it has long been his intention to rejuvenate the trade relations between the two friendly countries.
He felt inspired that this could be the beginning of a long drawn trade relationship which will pave the way to a two-way trade between the two countries greatly benefiting both economies.
He expressed his happiness on the signing of a MOU on increased trade relations between the two sides on this occasion.
He noted that through its ready-made garments, the textile industry is the number one foreign exchange earner of Bangladesh which has become the world’s leading RMG exporter, after China.
Bangladesh and the Philippines signed a trade agreement in 1980.
The first meeting of a joint trade committee was held in September 1989 and the second meeting was held in Manila in July 1997.
Minister for Commerce & Industry Tofail Ahmed led the Bangladesh delegation in that meeting.
About eight various trade agreements and MOUs were signed between Bangladesh and the Philippines during the last decade, but very little of those were implemented.
Bilateral trades between the two countries, although insignificant, have increased over the years and the balance is more or less in equilibrium.
Many businessmen from the Philippines are now interested to do business in Bangladesh, among whom Ambassador Carlos Chen, chairman of Liwayway Group of Companies, is looking forward to set up a factory in Dhaka for production of his famous brand food product “Oishi”.
Ambassador John Gomes thinks that the Filipino traders can invest in Bangladesh in the field of textiles, shipbuilding, hotels, seaports, land-port facilities and production of solar energy.
Bangladesh is having a sustained economic growth even through the global growth slow-down.
Foreign investors are quite happy with the investment policies and the Philippines and for that matter global community is well aware of micro finance development which has been introduced around the world.
Millions of people have been employed in different sectors because of sustained economic growth.
Strong remittance and foreign reserves have contributed to a very stable exchange rate of taka against dollar and this has also contributed to significant inflow of FDI.
Along with Bangladesh Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed, Minister of Agriculture Begum Matia Chowdhury, and the Governor of Bangladesh Bank Dr. Atiur Rahman, on a visit to Manila last year, expressed their hope and belief that there are ample opportunity for enhanced trade relations between Bangladesh and the Philippines.
Bangladesh exports mainly chemical fertilisers, metals, jute and jute goods, leather, pharmaceuticals, ready-made garments, cotton, knitwear, tobacco etc. to the Philippines.
It mainly imports condensed milk, scrapped iron or steel, food items, yarn, synthetic fibres, frames & mountings for goggles or spectacles, vegetables, chemicals and plastic from the Philippines.
The Philippines also exports gas oil, motor gasoline and high speed fuel oil to Bangladesh for last couple of years.
Both countries are overpopulated and depend on foreign remittance received from their overseas workers.
Freedom of speech and democratic and human rights are the basis of the constitution of both countries and women’s empowerment in both countries has seen significant developments in recent times.
The ambassador thanked the Department of Trade and Industry(DTI) of the Philippines and  John Paul Inigo, Commercial Counsellor, Philippine embassy, Dhaka, Philippine Ambassador to Bangladesh Vicente Vivencio T. Bandillo and Miguel Varela, chairman of Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industries (PCCI) for cordial support from every angle in making the visit successful.
He also thanked Rashed Maksud Khan, president of BPCCI and his delegation for coming to the Philippines to explore market and trade opportunities.
He expressed optimism that from now on the trade relations between the two countries will gain a new pace toward full exploitation of opportunities from both sides.
BBN/ASI/ANS-28Jan15-5:40pm (BST)