UAE-Bangladesh trade expected to exceed $1b mark this year
Tuesday, 27 March 2012 | 00:00
The volume of trade between Bangladesh and the UAE is likely to cross the $1 billion (Dh3.67 billion) mark for the financial year ending July 2012, said Nazmul Qununine, Bangladesh Ambassador to the UAE.
"Trade is fast becoming an essential component of Bangladesh's developmental strategy over the last decade or so and Bangladesh is now not dependent on foreign aid," he told Gulf News.
During 2010-2011, trade with the UAE reached almost $900 million, with Bangladesh's exports reaching $125 million and the UAE's exports reaching $770 million.
One of the key contributors to this growth is the large Bangladeshi expatriate community in the UAE. The UAE is home to over 700,000 Bangladeshi expatriates, making it the main overseas market for Bangladeshi workers.
In 2011, over 250,000 Bangladeshis got employment in the UAE, said Qununine. "They send more than $2 billion in remittances to Bangladesh and this year this is likely to increase," he said.
Although a majority of Bangladeshi workers in the UAE are unskilled, the Dhaka government has been pushing for professionals such as doctors, nurses, engineers, bankers, pharmacists, teachers and accountants to join the workforce here.
"The UAE may want to set up a Nurses Training Institute and recruit nurses from Bangladesh," Qununine said.
Last year, the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Shaikh Hasina, visited the UAE and signed two trade and investment agreements as part of the country's plan to bolster ties with the UAE.
Back then, Shaikh Hasina urged UAE investors, both from the public and private sectors, to invest in major infrastructure projects offered through public and private partnerships and joint ventures.
One of the problems hampering industrial growth in Bangladesh is the shortage of power.
The government has said that it will provide electricity "for all" by 2021, and increase power to 11,000 MW by 2015 and 20,000 MW by 2021.
"The government believes that electricity is a key element to alleviating poverty and eventually turn Bangladesh into a middle income country," he said.
"In line with the election pledge, the government has already published a yearly master plan for production of electricity from 2010-2015, both for the public and private sectors."
Today, investments from the UAE in Bangladesh stand at about $3 billion in sectors such as ceramics, telecommunications, banking, construction and services.
"Our expatriate business community in the UAE has been investing in Bangladesh in the recent years, Qununine said.
Bangladeshi business groups dealing in readymade garments, ceramics, furniture and other sectors are considering opening showrooms in the UAE to boost their business activities.
Qununine said that there are a number of agreements in place to boost ties such as a joint economic commission, air services agreement, agreement on the avoidance of double taxation, agreement on the promotion and protection of investment and a memorandum of understanding between the two apex federal chambers.
When it comes to the aviation sector, Qununine said that the government is "favourably" considering increasing the existing rights due to the demand from expatriates here.
"At present there are 42 flights a week each way," he said.
"There has been a demand for increasing these flight rights."
Source: Gulf News