Amb Farooq Sobhan, Distinguished Fellow, BEI, spoke at a webinar on branding, image building to reduce trade gap between Bangladesh and Malaysia on 22 July 2020

Date: 22 July 2020

Speakers at a webinar on Wednesday laid emphasis on branding and image building to reduce the trade gap between Bangladesh and Malaysia and urged the government to take initiative in this regard.

Bangladesh-Malaysia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BMCCI) organised the virtual discussion with all former High Commissioners of Bangladesh in Malaysia to address key issues from their experience.

Former High Commissioners Farooq Sobhan, Wajid Ali Khan Panni, Masood Aziz ndc, Shafi U Ahmed, AKM Atiqur Rahman, BMCCI Past Presidents Salahuddin Kasem Khan, Syed Moazzam Hossain, Syed Nurul Islam, Vice President Md Answer Shahid and Secretary General Mahbubul Alam attended the virtual meeting.

Welcoming the honorable guests and participants, Raquib Mohammad Fakhrul the President of Bangladesh Malaysia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BMCCI) initiated the discussion.

Masood Aziz, former high-commissioner, revealed export-import and trade gap data between the two countries during his tenure and later.

He said $ 209.8B was the lowest trade gap between the two countries, which is now $329B.

The Highest trade gap was $465B while the highest remittances were $856.87M.

“To reduce this trade gap we need technical knowledge and appropriate technology,” he said, adding that the main exports product from Bangladesh side should be halal meat (as a traditional Muslim dominated country).

Farooq Sobhan (1984-1987), also Foreign Secretary of GoB, shared his experience and said, “We needed to develop a special relationship with Malaysian counterparts.”

He emphasized on branding and image building to reduce trade gap with Malaysia.

He also urged the government to take initiative in organizing regular meetings at the highest level between both the countries.

He also proposed to give a red-carpet reception to the investors.

Wajid Ali Khan Panni (1997-1999), also former State Minister of Foreign Affairs, emphasized on labour issues.

He said many Bangladeshis are working in different sectors in Malaysia like electronic items manufacturing unit, palm oil industry, agro-based industry etc.

He proposed exploring the opportunities to develop the relationship with the high end in Malaysia.

Shafi U Ahmed (2004-2007) said the trade gap depends on competitiveness. To overcome the issues, he recommended competitive capacity building in both product and service sectors.

He also emphasized on duty-free excess, ago-processing, leather and footwear, ceramic, jamdani and non-traditional products. He mentioned that Halal certification has nowadays become a global requirement.

AKM Atiqur Rahman (2009-2014) said, “If we need to reduce the trade gap, the government should consider a Free Trade Agreement (FTA).”

Former President Syed Moazzem Hossain acknowledged the contribution of all past High Commissioners of Bangladesh in Malaysia.

He said that there should be a special economic zone for Malaysia in Bangladesh.

BMCCI President conducted the interactive session and facilitated the whole virtual meeting.