Bangladesh, Sri Lanka establish trade, cultural ties

Saturday, 30 October 2010 07:03 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

By Sunimalee Dias

A strong trade and cultural Bangladeshi delegation visited the country recently in a bid to establish ties and create joint ventures between the two countries.

Aimed at improving their economic profile in the two countries through investments, the delegation conducted discussions with garments, agriculture, hospitality and various other sectors.

Sri Lanka Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Dhaka, Bangladesh President Harikesha Wijesekera said this was an exciting meet and the first visit that had taken place in an organised manner with some delegates having insufficient time to carry out meetings with their counterparts in Sri Lanka.

Discussions prevailed on investments in the construction sector while the garments sector was also looked at very favourably.

Bangladeshi High Commissioner in Sri Lanka Mahbub Uz-Zaman said the process of agreeing on multilateral investments was being carried out and they were positive they could conclude the process.

Currently the two countries have trade ties between them based on the South Asia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) and now the requirement was for a SAFTA Plus since Sri Lanka today has FTAs with India and Pakistan.

The FTA between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka is being drafted at present. Trading volumes between the two countries stands at US$ 10-11 million. Investment in Bangladesh by Sri Lanka today stands at over US$ 37 million due t the high potential available in the country.

Sri Lankan High Commissioner to Bangladesh Sarath Kumara speaking on the occasion said the areas of shipping, technology, visas, avoidance of double taxation, direct flights to Dhaka are some of the issues under discussion between the two countries.

In this respect, he pointed out that currently it has been worked out that Mihin Air will operate three times a week direct between Colombo and Dhaka, thereby establishing the important trade links.

Significant highlights of Bangladesh involvement in this expo of Sri Lanka’s burgeoning investment opportunities are the former’s cultural and artistic, creative revelations through its fashion by designer Aneela Haque titled ‘Deshi Colours’ and a solo painting exhibition by a highly-acclaimed exponent of Bangladesh tribal art Kanak Chanpa Chakma titled ‘Journey to Peace’.