KUALA LUMPUR, Mar 13 (BDNEWS): Non-tariff barriers like import licencing or permit and standardisation requirements for agricultural and food products are the major bottlenecks Bangladesh is facing in exporting goods to Malaysia.
Bangladeshi businessmen in Kuala Lumpur said Malaysian market is rather free but the Bangladeshi exporters are facing difficulties to tap the full potential.
"There is also lack of awareness about our exportable items," said Mohammad Kamal, a Bangladeshi medium-scale businessman who resides in Bukit Bintang in Kuala Lumpur.
Besides, he said, the trading activities are conducted mostly by the Chinese traders, who are more inclined towards China and other neighbouring countries, while the Indian businessmen keep their eyes focused on India.
Nipu, another Bangladeshi trader of Kotarya area in Kuala Lumpur, said business opportunity here is very good, but there is a need for more interaction between trading houses of both the countries.
Bangladesh's High Commissioner Shafi U Ahmed said the total volume of trade is growing but not in our favour as our product diversity and number of item are small.
"We are trying to create a market here for high-value items with larger export potentials from us, like leather and ceramic ware, pharmaceuticals etc," he said.
"We are working to reduce the trade gap," he told the news agency.
During the financial year 2003-2004, Bangladesh's export to Malaysia was $8.65 million while import from Malaysia was $254.40 million leaving trade deficit of $ 245.75 million.
From July-December 2004, export from Bangladesh to Malaysia stood at $ 4.50 million while import from Malaysia to Bangladesh was $ 139 million in the same period.
The trade imbalance was $72.61 million in 1998-99, $99.54 million in 1999-2000, $138.82 million in 2000-2001, $137.43 million in 2001-2002, $164.47 million in the 2002-2003 fiscal years respectively.
Major exports to Malaysia from Bangladesh are readymade garments, knitwear, jute goods, frozen food/fish, chemical products etc.
In recent times, shrimps, crabs, leather, pharmaceuticals, processed food, camera parts, textile fabrics, manufactured goods, agri-products, ceramics, tobacco, potato, iron chain, optical and scientific equipment, and beverages are entering into the Malaysian markets.
On the other hand, main import items from Malaysia are textile, plastic and articles, base metals, machinery and electrical equipment and chemical products etc.
Export from Bangladesh to Malaysia was $8.29 million in 1998-99, $6.51 million in 1999-2000, $9.42 million 2000-2001, $7.75 million in 2001-2002, $4.72 million in 2002-2003 and $8.65 in 2003-2004.
On the other hand, imports from Malaysia to Bangladesh was $ 80.90 million, $106.05 million, 1999-2000, $148.24 million in 2000-2001, $145.08 million in 2001-2002, $145.08 million in 2002-2003 and $ 254.00 million in the last 2003-2004 fiscal year.