Speakers at the launching ceremony of Sri Lanka Bangladesh joint chamber laid emphasis on establishing direct air and shipping links between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh for bolstering bilateral trade between the two countries, reports BDNEWS.
"Sri Lanka-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SL-BCCI) should play a catalytic role in promoting business and trade between the two friendly countries," Commerce Minister Alatf Hossain Choudhury said at the launching ceremony of the joint chamber.
The SL-BCCI organised the programme at a city hotel with S Ranganathan, chairman of the SL-BCCI, in the chair. DD Packir has been made secretary of the 10-member SL-BCCI committee.
"If a direct air link is set up between Dhaka and Colombo, trade, commerce and investment would be further promoted to a new height," the commerce minister said.
Prompt shipping services between the two countries will also facilitate speedy shipment of goods, he added.
The minister also suggested opening of trade display centres in both the countries, holding of special and regular single or joint trade fair, assessing of the market scopes and commodities that can be traded. Altaf also stressed on joint venture investment in private sector of both the countries.
Reaz Rahman, adviser to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said the volume of bilateral trade between the two countries is very negligible. It was US$ 21.26 million in 2004-05.
"The joint chamber should work to identify potential areas of trade for increasing trade volume for economic growth and poverty alleviation of both the countries," he said.
"Absence of direct air link is hampering the promotion of trade. If an air link like Dhaka-Kolkata-Colombo is set up, it will benefit both the countries," Sri Lankan High Commissioner Gamini S Munasinghe said.