Bangladesh has opportunities to boost exports by five times to South Asian countries harnessing the potential of geographical proximity among the nations, said a United Nations official at a seminar.
In his presentation, Dr. Rajan Sudesh Ratna, deputy head and senior economic affairs officer for UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), showed the potential of the Bangladesh economy.
Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) organised the seminar on regional economic growth among SAARC countries at Hotel InterContinental in Dhaka on Wednesday.
Addressing the meeting, FBCCI President Md. Jashim Uddin echoed the UN official, “The SAARC region has low intra-regional trade of 5 percent which means there is still vast untapped potential.”
“It is more important than ever that we must recognise the significance of using our regional strengths and working together towards a common vision in a rapidly changing world,” he said.
Md. Jashim Uddin said that the private sector holds the key to unlocking this opportunity by venturing into new markets, diversifying product portfolios, nurturing cross-border business collaborations, and removing trade barriers including NTBs.
“Setting up a B2B mutual trade facilitation committee of the SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry may be established for support,” he said.
“The region is also blessed with immense resources, a young and talented workforce, and a growing consumer market. By rethinking our regional integration strategies, we can leverage our relationship to new heights,”
Jashim suggested that SAARC chamber needs to activate its working groups and strengthen its capacity to in driving business conducive initiatives including transport and logistics infrastructure promoting digital connectivity.
“We call upon the governments of both Bangladesh and India to enable an extension of LDC treatment to Bangladesh even after its graduation in 2026 up to the enforcement of BD-India CEPA,” he added.
FBCCI senior vice president Mostofa Azad Chowdhury Babu made an address of welcome on the occasion.
He said that SAARC has the potential of being one of the most dynamic and emerging regions in the world with promising ties among the eight member countries.
Former President of SAARC CCI (Sri Lanka) Ruwan Ediringehe said that SAARC nations have all 4M representing manpower, market, money and materials.
“We are yet to utilise it. SCCI has deliberately failed from the last decade to pres
surise their national chamber to enhance trade between the region. We need to take necessary actions to minimise those barriers,” he said.
Maldives former minister Mariyam Shakeela, SAARC CCI former president Ruwan Ediringehe, current vice-presidents Anjum Nisar and Chandi Raj Dhakal, India -Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce & Industry (IBCCI) vice president Sanjay Basu and Afghanistan Chamber executive member Janaqa Siddiqui were, among others, were present on the occasion. Policy Exchange Bangladesh Chairman Dr. Masrur Reaz moderated the session.