President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva eyes to increase engagement with Dhaka
Rafiqul Islam Azad: Bangladesh’s export to Brazil, the largest market Latin America, during last 2022-23 fiscal year posted some 60 per cent growth over the previous 2021-22 fiscal year, according to data of Export Promotion Bureau (EPB)
Record shows Bangladesh exported goods valued at $109.20 million to Brazil in the 2021-22 fiscal year. The major products that Bangladesh exported to Brazil include Jerseys, pullovers, cardigans, waistcoats and similar articles; knitted or crocheted, shirts; men’s or boys’ (not knitted or crocheted), and suits, ensembles, jackets, blazers, trousers, bib and brace overalls, breeches and shorts (other than swimwear); men’s or boys’ (not knitted or crocheted).
During the 1995-2020 period, the exports from Bangladesh to Brazil increased at an annualized rate of 9.08 per cent, from $15.1 million to $132 million respectively.
In the 2021-22 fiscal year, Brazil exported goods valued $2,245.1 million US dollars to Bangladesh. The main products that Brazil exported to Bangladesh were cane or beet sugar and chemically pure sucrose, in solid form, cotton; not carded or combed, and soybeans, whether or not broken.
During the July-December of 2022, Brazil exported goods worth $ 1,434.9 million to Bangladesh during July-December 2022 showing an increasing upward trend of exports to Bangladesh.
Meanwhile, as Bangladesh has become an emerging economy in the region and has maintained a steady economic growth over the years defying the corona pandemic, Brazil is keen to expand multilateral engagements especially in the trade and investment with the South Asian country, according to diplomatic sources.
As part of that strategy, a high-powered trade delegation of Brazil visited Bangladesh in May this year aiming at strengthening bilateral trade with Bangladesh.
The delegation of Latin American countryincludeAnirbanAftab of INN Group, Felipe Luis OdySpaniol of CNA (National Confederation of Agriculture), Luis Renato de AlcantaraRua of ABPA (Brazilian Poultry, Swine and Fish Association, Juliano Leonidas Hoffmann of ABRA (AssociaçãoBrasileira de Reciclagem Animal, Marcelo Duarte Monteiro of ABRAPA (Brazilian Cotton Growers Association, Rodrigo Gedeon of Apex Brasil and Ambassador Alex Giacomelli of the Foreign Ministry of Brazil.
The Embassy of Brazil in Dhaka in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Brazil, Department of Trade Promotion, Investment Attraction (DPRA) and Agribusiness in Brazil (Apex-Brazil) and Brazil-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BBCCI) held a daylong conference titled Brazil-Bangladesh Trade Conference in the city in May. Commerce Minister of Bangladesh TipuMunshi was present as the chief guest at the seminar.
Commerce Secretary TapanKanti Ghosh, Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) President Md. Jashim Uddin and leading business leaders attended seminar.
Brazil, the largest economy in South America, will leave no stone unturned to increase trade relations with Bangladesh as the latter has become a new economic giant in the South Asian region, said Brazil Ambassador to Bangladesh Paulo Fernandos Dias Feres.
Bangladesh’s economy has been growing steadily over the years and the country has contained Covid-19 successfully. Bangladesh is now the 41st largest economy in the world, according to new data of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Brazil is the fourth largest cotton producer and second top exporter while Bangladesh is the second largest cotton importer in the world.
Talking to this correspondent, a top businessman said Brazil is looking at expanding consumer market in Bangladesh with a total population of 175 million.
Bangladesh and Brazil have increased their engagement in multilateral sectors especially in the trade and investment as the bilateral trade between the two countries marked a higher growth in recent times, he said
Brazil was the eighth largest import source of Bangladesh in 2021-22 fiscal year with import recorded at $2245.1 million (3.00 per cent of total import). The total import of Bangladesh recorded at $75,604.4 million US dollars, according to the data of Bangladesh Bank.
According to International Monetary Fund (IMF), Brazilian nominal GDP was $1.833 trillion. The GDP per capita was $8,570 per inhabitant. Brazil has a long history of being among the ten largest economies in the world and rich in natural resources.
The economy of Bangladesh is estimated to have expanded at a slower-than-expected pace in 2022-23, said the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS), a figure that analysts describe as good in view of elevated inflation, slowing exports and remittances and the ongoing pressure on the country’s foreign exchange reserves.
The gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 6.03 per cent in the fiscal year, ending in June, said the national statistical agency based on its provisional estimate.
The estimate of the BBS is higher than the projection made by the international agencies such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the Asian Development Bank.
Among the three, the IMF projected the highest growth at 5.5 per cent of GDP for FY23.
The BBS projection is based on the performance of the various indicators of the economy in the first half of FY23 and is lower than the government’s goal of 6.5 per cent.
The economic growth target was revised downward twice since the beginning of the fiscal year in July owing to the continuing stress in the economy.
Sources said the government asked the ministries of Foreign Affairs and Commerce to step up efforts for signing Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) or Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Brazil and three other Mercosur countries–Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay. In addition, officials concerned have also been asked to bolster agriculture cooperation between Bangladesh and Brazil.
In a recent communication, it requested the authorities concerned in Dhaka to make all necessary arrangements to facilitate the visit of the Brazilian delegation.
Besides, Bangladesh government is actively negotiating with Mercosur countries for access to their market which could take Bangladesh’s overall exports to new heights.
According to stakeholders, signing of FTA or PTA with Brazil and Mercosur countries is of high importance for Bangladesh’s export expansion. Particularly, the agreements will open the door to an immense opportunity for Bangladesh’s pharmaceuticals sector.
The Governor of State Parana, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Invest Parana and some other business leaders from different sectors have expressed their interest to visit Dhaka, according to a communication from the Bangladesh mission in Brazil.
It noted that being the heart of Latin America and the 12th largest economy of the world, Brazilcould be a new front for trade and investment for Bangladesh.
Bangladesh Ambassador to Brazil Sadia Faizunnesa visited State Parana in June last year and met with Parana State authorities and different business bodies, and presented Bangladesh’s promising and lucrative investment and commercial opportunities.
However, Bangladesh’s potentials and investment opportunities are very little known in Brazil, she said.
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