Canada-BD business opportunity

Canada, a trusted friend of Bangladesh, recognized the nation immediately after the independence on 14 February 1972 and is now one of the seven largest export destination countries. Both countries have been experiencing long lasting-bilateral ties since then Canada prides itself on being open to global business.
Trade is an import element in Canadian development strategy. Canada’s trade to GDP ratio is around 63 per cent making it one of the more open economies in the world. Canada accounts for approx. 2.5 per cent of global exports and imports. Canada provides generous access to the developing countries through preferential trade agreements, FTAs and FIPAs, specific market access initiatives and through ‘aid for trade’ initiatives.
Bangladesh  is one of the world’s fast growing, dynamic and most densely populated countries along with a huge market of about one sixty one million people.  It offers a conducive environment for the trade and investment for Canadian businessman with a stable political environment and a highly positive economic outlook.
The market-based economy of Bangladesh is the 46th largest in the world in nominal terms, and 33rd largest by purchasing power parity; it is classified among the Next Eleven emerging market economies and a Frontier market. According to the IMF, Bangladesh’s economy is the second fastest growing major economy of 2016, with a rate of 7.1 per cent and the growth forecast may be more than 7.4 per cent for the fiscal year ending in June, 2018.
Investors are interested in Bangladesh, because of the significant potential of a large market, a large low-cost, highly productive labour force, a strategic location between two of the fastest growing economies in the world. Canadian investors can come forward for investment using their raw materials in production of different sectors particularly food and agricultural sector whereas Bangladesh is enjoying the duty free, quota- free facility for exporting to Canada.
Canadian investors can utilize this facility to invest here for re-exports. There are lucrative investment facilities here provided by the Bangladesh government for encouraging foreign investment including tax holiday, corporate tax incentives, etc.
Canada’s commercial relationship with Bangladesh has grown dramatically over the last one and half decades. Canada’s trade with Bangladesh is increasing day by day and the value of   Canada’s export to Bangladesh in the last six month from January to June 2017 was USD 289477931 against USD 650486667 import from the country.
During this period, Canadian merchandise exports to Bangladesh have more than doubled and Bangladesh has become the second largest source of Canadian merchandise imports from South Asia, after India. The value of Canada- Bangladesh bilateral trade stood at over USD 2 billion in 2016 and aims to reach USD 5 billion by 2020.
The Canada- Bangladesh trade relationship is particularly important for the province of Saskatchewan. Saskatchewan’s exports mainly wheat, fertilizers, and pulses to Bangladesh have grown more than six fold over the past fifteen years.
The Principal export items of Bangladesh to Canada are ready made garments, knitwear, leather goods, footwear, jute and jute goods, frozen foods, headgear, porcelain, ceramic, tableware, toys, games, sports equipments, furniture etc.
The import items from Canada are Cereals, textiles, and textile articles, wood pulp, pulp paper or paperboard, machinery and mechanical appliances, electrical equipment and products of the chemical or allied industries, iron and steel, oilseeds, fertilizers, vegetables, etc.
Canada has played an instrumental role in the development process of Bangladesh since independence. Over the years Canada has been providing development assistance or aid to Bangladesh with view to improving the livelihood of the people of Bangladesh and directed towards poverty reduction.
In the field of education and skill development, health, human rights and governance Canada supports efforts to improve the quality of education, access to health care and public sector financial management. Canada is the 6th largest bilateral donor to Bangladesh in terms of total disbursement. Canadian International development Agency made a valuable contribution in the development strides of Bangladesh and Trade Facilitation Office, Canada has been assisted in undertaking trade promotional measures between the two countries.
Bangladesh currently receives about more than USD 100 million in Canadian official development assistance per year, placing it in the top 10 recipients of Canadian aid. Yet it also does over USD 2 billion of trade with Canada each year, making it one of Canada’s largest LDC trading partners, but both these countries for growing relationship urgently requires more attention, coherence and innovation.
Canada is the torch-bearer for the global peace and development. Present Canadian government’s liberal views and policy on important global issues like migration, refugees, and climate change and women empowerment are highly appreciated across the globe.
Canada has consistently been supporting Bangladesh’s efforts towards sustainable economic growth, gender equality, establishment of rule of law, and particularly in creating opportunities for children and youth.
Canada may support Bangladesh to establish training institute for skill development, import more skilled human resource from Bangladesh, joint collaboration in IT and ICT sector for mutual benefits, enhanced business-to-business linkage between small and medium enterprises in Canada and Bangladesh. Bangladesh needs to focus on saving the environment in the production of textiles and garments, government needs to improve infrastructure in the country to facilitate trade and diversify exports to reduce overdependence on apparel items, instant of depending only on garments products also have the opportunity for other products.
Canada and Bangladesh are growing closer through economic, diplomatic and ever-widening Diaspora ties. Canada appreciates that Bangladesh is an emerging economy that will be an economic powerhouse in the years ahead.
Canada will continue to build bridges between the two countries so that each nation’s citizens will benefit from the opportunities of the future business. Canada will continue to contribute and extend full support to Bangladesh in its effort to be middle income country by 2021 and developed country by 2041.
The writer is the Deputy General Manager of Bangladesh Krishi Bank