Bangladesh Deputy High Commissioner SM Mahbubul Alam has stressed the need for enhancing trade and investment cooperation with Pakistan.

Speaking to businessmen during his visit to the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), the envoy invited the KCCI to send a business delegation to Bangladesh to explore trade and investment opportunities as the country offered all the required facilities and infrastructure along with special incentives for foreign investors.

“The pending free trade agreement (FTA) with Bangladesh needs to be concluded without loss of time,” Union of Small and Medium Enterprises (UNISAME) President Zulfikar Thaver said while talking to The Express Tribune.

It would benefit both countries which had vast potential of increasing import and export, he said, adding that increased collaboration, partnership and joint ventures could boost economic growth of both countries.

The envoy told the gathering that around 100 Special Economic Zones (SEZs) were being established across Bangladesh with the aim of promoting investment and accelerating economic growth through increased and diversified industrialisation, employment, production and exports.

“We have a lot of potential to work together, so we must make collective efforts for economic prosperity of the two brotherly countries,” he stated.

“There are challenges which have to be efficiently tackled through collective efforts. When Bangladesh was born, it had zero foreign reserves and most of the food items were being imported. But now the country holds impressive foreign reserves of $48 billion,” the envoy highlighted.

Alam pointed out that Bangladesh was not importing any food items as it was self-sufficient in domestic production. Besides, under vision 2041, the country intends to become a developed and smart nation.

“Investors of Japan, China, India and South Korea have already established production units in Bangladesh. Pakistani business community must also come forward to benefit from our potential.”

About delay in the issuance of visas, the envoy emphasised that they were trying their best to issue visas to members of business community at the earliest. However, individuals may face delay due to the procedures which have to be adhered to.

Pakistani exporters, who were not getting industrial input due to foreign currency shortage and not receiving energy at regionally competitive rates, may opt for relocating to Bangladesh, a country far more export-friendly than Pakistan, remarked SITE Association of Industries (SAI) President Riazuddin.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 11th, 2023.

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