Bangladesh's apex trade body, the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FBCCI), and its counterpart in the United Arab Emirates, the UAE Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry, are all set to launch a council next month in a bid to enhance business cooperation.
To this end, the FBCCI held a preparatory meeting at its office in Dhaka on Saturday, in which office bearers of the organisation and several other business leaders and policy analysts took part, said a press release.
Called UAE-Bangladesh Joint Business Council, the cooperation platform is expected to help Bangladesh boost trade with the Middle East, Africa as well as Europe.
"Dubai is now a hub of business communication between the Middle East and Africa. Besides, Europe is becoming reliant on Dubai.
We hope this council will help us expand trade in these regions," FBCCI President Md Jashim Uddin said while addressing the meeting.
He added that this initiative would create an opportunity for Bangladesh to explore new markets and contribute to a sustainable economy after the LDC graduation.
The council is scheduled to be launched during the visit of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to Dubai next month. FBCCI plans to highlight Bangladesh's sector-based investment and export prospects in the inaugural ceremony, according to the release.
Naser Ezaz Bijoy, president of the Foreign Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry, recommended five specific sectors – agricultural and halal food products, light engineering especially car parts, financial sector, petrochemical, and port management – be included in that presentation.
Syed Muntasir Mamun, director-general of the International Trade and Investment wing of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs suggested the FBCCI seek UAE investment in ICT, ITES, artificial intelligence, private equity, aviation, shipping and agriculture sectors.
On the other hand, FBCCI Director Abul Kasem Khan highlighted the potential for investment in the tourism and hospitality sector. He
Research Director at the Centre for Policy Dialogue and FBCCI's Panel Advisor Khandaker Golam Moazzem said the UAE was currently looking for a global strategic partner for development.
"As part of that, the country has recently signed a free trade agreement with India. Bangladesh should also do an FTA with the UAE," he added.