FBCCI requests Russia to give duty-free market accessStaff Correspondent
The Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry on Tuesday urged Russia to provide duty-free market access for all export products of Bangladesh in order to expand bilateral trade between the two countries.
At a discussion meeting with Russian ambassador to Bangladesh Alexander A Nikolaev, FBCCI also invited Russian investors to come with foreign direct investment and set up industries on 100 per cent ownership or joint venture in Bangladesh.
In reply, Alexander Nikolaev stressed on facilitating direct contacts between officials and businessmen of the two countries. Only direct contacts could increase bilateral trade by solving existing problems and removing barriers, he said.
‘We expect that the decades-long friendly country, Russia, will allow duty-free access to Bangladeshi products in its market and this facility will help expand bilateral trade,’ FBCCI president AK Azad said at the meeting held at its conference room.
He also urged Russia to extend tariff preferences for Bangladeshi products including readymade garments, leather and leather goods and ceramics. Currently, rice, tea, silk, shrimps, jute and jute goods are getting tariff preferences as LDC products in the Russian market.
Besides demanding duty-free access, Bangladeshi business leaders also wanted direct air-links between the two countries, simplifying formalities for getting visa and reducing visa fees for Bangladeshi businessmen.
Presently, the total trade volume between the two countries is worth around $ 250 million and the trade balance is in favour of Russia. In 2010-11 fiscal year, Bangladesh exported goods worth $ 97 million to Russia against imports worth $ 153 million from that country.
The FBCCI president expressed the hope of exceeding the trade level worth $ I billion in the current fiscal year while in the first six months (July-December) trade volume reached at $ 266 million.
Bangladesh exports to Russia mainly knitwear, raw jute and jute goods, woven garments, agro-products and frozen foods against import of chemical products, vegetable, base metal, vehicles, aircraft and vessels, arms and ammunition, cotton, machinery and mechanical appliances.
Azad said that Russian importers could import Bangladeshi leather, pharmaceuticals, handicrafts, plastic products, porcelain tableware and agro-processed products as the local manufacturers have the ability to produce international standard quality products in these sectors.
Urging Russian entrepreneurs to invest in Bangladesh, Azad said that Bangladesh offers most liberal package of investment facilities and incentives including tax exemption, tax holiday and full extradition of profit.
The Russian ambassador stressed on organising fairs and exhibitions to showcase the products of both countries to make familiar the products to the consumers and exporters-importers alongside making direct contacts between chamber bodies and business people of both the countries.
‘You should communicate with Russian private sector operators as they contribute around 70 per cent of the gross domestic products of the country. So enhance direct communication with them,’ Nikolaev said.
FBCCI first vice-president Md. Jasim Uddin Ahmed, vice-president Mostafa Azad Chowdhury Babu and director Monowara Hakim Ali, among others, spoke on the occasion.
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