Canadian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Benoit Prefontaine has expressed his country’s interest to launch a joint working group by November to increase trade and investment between Bangladesh and Canada.
The two countries agreed to form a joint working group in 2017 and a term of reference has also been intended for this purpose but it has not yet materialized.
High Commissioner Prefontaine met Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) President Md. Jashim Uddin on Thursday and discussed the issue.
He said Canada has already nominated four representatives from the private sector.
Welcoming the initiative of the Canadian High Commissioner, FBCCI President Jashim said he himself co-chairs the group.
The FBCCI will hold talks with Bangladeshi businessmen in preparation for the formation of the joint working group this month.
He said many countries have invested in the 100 specialized economic zones in Bangladesh which can also appear to be attractive for Canadians’ entrepreneurs.
The FBCCI Chief called for investment in primary textile, leather products, energy and power, ceramics, furniture industry, infrastructure and blue economy sectors.
Praising Bangladesh's progress, the Canadian High Commissioner said that despite being one of the most promising economies in the region in terms of socio-economic indicators, economic growth and the huge domestic markets, Bangladesh is still unfamiliar to Canadian investors.
Therefore, the entrepreneurs of the country are not considering Bangladesh in terms of new investments.
However, the Canadian embassy has already appointed a senior trade commissioner to improve trade relations with Bangladesh.
During the meeting, FBCCI Vice-President MA Momen said global investors are looking for alternative investment destinations of China for various reasons.
Canadian companies may consider Bangladesh in this regard, he said, and called for simplification of Canadian visa process for Bangladeshi businessmen.
Senior Vice President of FBCCI Mostafa Azad Chowdhury Babu; Vice-Presidents Md. Amin Helaly and Md. Habib Ullah Dawn; and Chief Executive Officer Mohammad Mahfuzul Hoque were present.