Trade relation between Saudi Arabia and Bangladesh steps forward

Staff Correspondent       
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Trade relation between Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia is not new. The two countries formally established diplomatic relations in 1975-76, but in recent times it is getting new look. Investment and import from Saudi Arabia to Bangladesh are going to be increased, which will help to reduce trade gap between the two countries.

Recently, for the first time, a team of 21 high-level business delegates form Riyadh Chamber of Commerce have visited in Bangladesh and met with country’s trade body where they demanded space in Bangladesh economic zone area for facilitating the entrepreneurs of the Kingdom to invest in various sectors. Mr. Moshabab Abdulla Alkahtani, Head of the Delegation of Saudi Arabia demanded it in ‘Bangladesh-Saudi Arabia Business Meeting’ at hotel Amari in the capital.

Figure 1: A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed at the meeting between FBCCI and Alfanar Energy, a leading Manufacturer and Construction Company of Saudi Arabia.
Figure 1: A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed at the meeting between FBCCI and Alfanar Energy, a leading Manufacturer and Construction Company of Saudi Arabia.

Mr. Moshabab Abdulla Alkahtani said, “Bangladesh has big potentials of becoming a manufacturing hub due to huge inexpensive labor force. We are not here only to increase our exports to Bangladesh. We are here also to increase the business of Bangladesh in Saudi”, he added.

“Our vision is to increase economy and develop public service sectors by 2030. We hope that Bangladesh government will give facilities for Saudi investors”, said Head of the Saudi delegates team.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed at the meeting between FBCCI  and Alfanar Energy, a leading Manufacturer and Construction Company of Saudi Arabia, to establish a 40-100 MW solar power plant in Bangladesh. Hussain Jamil, Secretary General (In Charge) of FBCCI and Muhammed Irfan, Business Development Manager of Alfanar Energy signed the memorandum.

Table 1: The table shows the business profile of Saudi Arabia and Bangladesh.
Table 1: The table shows the business profile of Saudi Arabia and Bangladesh.

FBCCI President, Md. Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin said, “Many countries including China, Japan, India have already invested in special economic zone to the prospective sector.” He urged Saudi companies to make investment in power, energy, textile, ICT sectors in Bangladesh.

Bangladesh is the second largest garments exporter in the world. In FY 2015-16, Bangladesh exported knitwear goods 41.97 million dollar and woven 33.87 million dollar to Saudi. Besides apparel products Bangladesh also exports others commodities to the country.

Table 2: The data shows the trade position of Bangladesh to Saudi Arabia.(Values in million) Source: EPB
Table 2: The data shows the trade position of Bangladesh to Saudi Arabia.(Values in million) Source: EPB

According to EPB, in fiscal 2016-17, Bangladesh exported goods worth $185.21 million and imported goods of $605.4 million in Saudi Aradia. This data shows a huge trade imbalance between the two countries. If Saudi Arabia invest here in textile sector and increase their import from Bangladesh then the gap will be shorter.

Bangladesh is ready to accept investment from Saudi Arabia and give business friendly environment for them. Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed said, “Bangladesh is an attractive destination in the world for investment as the government has taken an investment-friendly policy. Saudi Arabia can get tax and quota-free import prospect by investing in Bangladesh.”

Tofail said, “We have one hundred economic zones where Saudi can invest. Our government will provide them assistance and all kinds of support.”

Figure 2: B2B meetings were held between two countries in several areas like agriculture, health, food, and textiles.
Figure 2: B2B meetings were held between two countries in several areas like agriculture, health, food, and textiles.

H.E Mr. Golam Moshi, Ambassador, Embassy of Bangladesh in Riyadh; Kazi Aminul Islam, Executive Chairman, BIDA; Shekih Fazly Fahim, First Vice President, FBCCI were present in the seminar.

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