Bangladesh’s new Consulate General in Toronto took the initiative and, along with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce or OCC, brought together business leaders from both sides on Tuesday at the “Bangladesh-Canada Business Forum”.
The forum also witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the OCC and Bangladesh’s umbrella chamber, FBCCI, which is also the first of its kind, the mission said.
“This is a stepping stone to a new height in business relations with Canada,” said Minister of Commerce Tipu Munshi, who led the Bangladeshi delegation of 19 members.
He thanked the Bangladeshi Consulate General in Toronto for organizing such an “effective” business forum within five months of the opening of the mission in Toronto.
Ontario’s Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, Victor Fedeli, who was the Forum’s guest of honor, insisted on “deeper engagement” with Bangladesh.
He said that the priority of the province of Ontario is “to generate mass jobs for which it has opened its economy to foreign entrepreneurs where Bangladesh can mark its strong foothold”.
Ontario’s economy is the engine of Canada, accounting for over one-third of national GDP and over 40% of exports.
The business forum took place at a time when Canada is seeking new markets outside of China. Canada recently created a “Senior Trade Commissioner” position at its High Commission in Dhaka.
Canada was one of the first countries in North America to recognize Bangladesh in 1972 shortly after independence.
Bangladesh Consul General in Toronto Nayem Uddin Ahmed has met on several occasions with key leaders in Ontario and presented the case of the country.
“We expect a big power trade delegation from Canada by next February,” he told bdnews24.com.
Bilateral trade of $ 2.36 billion has remained stagnant in recent years. Bangladesh mainly exports ready-to-wear clothing.
“We are focused on diversification,” said the consul general, adding that he had seen Canada’s interest in the construction, aviation, renewable energy and green technology sectors in Bangladesh.
The forum included two round tables, apart from the ceremonies. The first was on “How Canada Improves Business and Investment with Bangladesh” and the other was on “How Bangladesh Improves Business and Investment with Canada”.
It has provided a platform for business leaders and entrepreneurs to exchange views and ideas on sector-specific comparative advantages in investment, trade promotion and win-win business.
Minister Fedeli said the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the two umbrella chambers is an “unprecedented opportunity” and demonstrates a “strong partnership” between countries to accelerate trade and investment.
Minister of Commerce Munshi said that the essence of this forum is to “forge commercial ties, so that entrepreneurs and businessmen from the two business poles can join together and work in tandem to improve trade. and investment ”.
He vowed “to support each other to forge mutually beneficial collaboration and investments.”
OCC President Rossi said Canada and Bangladesh have a lot to offer each other and the two countries “are gaining in importance as trading and investment partners of each other.”
“Bangladesh is making more and more inroads into the Canadian market with unconventional products,” he said.
The Business Forum summed up that by examining the trend and needs of both economies and global supply chains, there are areas that deserve attention for both businessmen and entrepreneurs.
These include high value clothing, light engineering, pharmacy and organic products, digital services, industrial use of jute fiber, sea fishing, frozen food, logistics, transportation. and communication, higher education, vocational qualification, value-added services and tertiary health care.