Bangladesh has a great potential for exporting pharmaceutical products, as it is one of the best sources of world-class cheap pharmaceutical products.
Philippines former president Fidel Valdez Ramos made the observation while exchanging views with the local chamber leaders at a luncheon meeting hosted by the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) in the city Saturday.
Ramos said both Bangladesh and Philippines have almost common problems and have a lot of scopes to work together for the betterment of the peoples of these two countries.
Ramos also said least developed countries (LDCs) have to work together to achieve the millennium development goals (MDGs).
'Poverty is our common problem and alleviation of poverty depends on self-help and self-reliance,' Ramos observed.
'Bangladesh is the pioneer player to eradicate poverty through the micro credit programme invented by Dr Yunus, which is being practised all over the world and Philippines is a great follower of this very effective financial mechanism,' Ramos mentioned.
The total trade volume between Bangladesh and Philippines is at present US$ 24 million (2.4 crore), which was in favour of Philippines by $ 11.15 million in the 2004-05 fiscal year.
The trade balance was earlier in favour of Bangladesh until 1999-2000 as Bangladesh had a positive trade balance of $ 1.48 million in the 1999-00 Fiscal year (FY).
Bangladesh mainly imports mineral products, chemicals, machinery and mechanical appliances, electrical equipment from Philippines and exports chemical fertiliser, raw jute, tea in bulk, pharmaceuticals and other items.
Ramos said government officials and business leaders of both the countries should regularly sit together to find out the ways to improve further trade and investment.
Talking to the FE, Philippines Ambassador in Bangladesh Norberto R Basilio said a Philippines business team would visit Bangladesh very soon in this regard to enhance business and investment so that both the countries could be mutually benefited.
Basilio also said Philippines would import more pharmaceutical products from Bangladesh in the coming days.
Talking to the FE, Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) President Mir Nasir Hossain said business leaders of both the countries have to visit frequently and share views to find out investment opportunities and have to build up good understanding to promote trade and investment further.
Addressing the gathering, the FBCCI president said Bangladesh has embarked on a wide range of reforms on several fronts including the financial sector, resource mobilisation, privatisation of state-owned enterprises and the legal sector.
Nasir said a joint cooperation agreement between Bangladesh and Philippines chambers was signed on December 15, 1989 and this agreement has to be reactivated.
Former President of FBCCI MA Kashem, first vice-president of FBCCI Mohammad Ali, vice-president Dewan Sultan, BTMA president MA Awal, BKMEA president Fazlul Haq, Women Entrepreneurs Association of Bangladesh President Nasreen Awal Mintoo, Bangladesh Association of Pharmaceutical Industries President SM Shafiuzzaman, FBCCI directors, business leaders and high officials of the Philippines embassy in Bangladesh were present at the luncheon meeting.