COLOMBO: Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Industry and Commerce plans a trade and business delegation visit to Bangladesh next month, on the back of a three-fold rise in trade between the two countries, a statement said. “Bilateral trade between the two countries tripled since 2010 but there is unexplored potential,” said Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen speaking with the High Commissioner of Bangladesh in Sri Lanka Riaz Hamidullah. “I have instructed my officials to plan a strong trade and business delegation to Dhaka from Sri Lanka this July. We are looking for much bigger trade and investments to Sri Lanka from Dhaka as well in the aftermath of proposed high level Business Forum to be held along with this event, which is essential for B2B links.” According to the Department of Commerce, Sri Lanka’s exports to Bangladesh are mainly in cotton, plastics, fabrics, soap and washing preparations, and lubricants.
Sri Lanka’s exports to Bangladesh, of $35 million in 2010, tripled to $112 million in 2016. Imports from Bangladesh to Sri Lanka are mainly in medicines, textile fibres, paper yarn, steel, apparel and cotton. The US$13 million imports to Sri Lanka from Bangladesh in 2010 had tripled to US$39 million by 2016. “We welcome a high level Sri Lankan delegation to Dhaka,” Hamidullah said. “A high level Business Forum along with official trade talks is a great impetus for future bilateral business. Refreshing our present arrangements, for example the Double Taxation Avoidance treaty, can also help if necessary.” “I am pleased to say that the cost of doing business in Bangladesh has significantly decreased in recent years. Already many Lankan companies have invested with us.” Fourty five Lankan companies currently operate in Bangladesh with US$300 million in investment. They are active in the sectors of apparel, banking, paper, and consumer goods, he said.