The Bangladesh-Myanmar Chamber of Commerce & Industries (BMCCI) on Sunday urged the government to sign a shipping protocol with neighbouring Myanmar to maximise business gain.
The issue was raised during a meeting between a BMCCI delegation led by its President SM Nurul Hoque and Shipping Minister Shajahan Khan at the latter's secretariat office.
The BMCCI delegation included Vice-Presidents Yacoob Md Ariff and Rafiqul Islam Bablu, Executive Director M Musleh Uz Zaman, Director Finance DM Ariful Isla and Directors Engr Abdul Mobin, Enayet Ullah Siddiqui, Mohammad Arefin, Engr Md Golam Sarwar, Md Lokman, Serajul Islam and Sk. Mahfuj Hamid. The meeting was conducted by the ministry's Secretary Ashoke Madhab Roy.
The BMCCI has been working towards bilateral business development between the two neighbouring countries, a press release said.
As the only other neighbour beside India, the chamber strongly feels that a bilateral friendly business relation with Myanmar will certainly have a significant impact on a peaceful co-existence, it said.
The meeting discussed in details on strategies of bilateral business development means. Bangladesh as a neighbour should mark its presence in Myanmar specially in a changed scenario following the establishment of new regime in the south-east Asian country and when many developed nations from the west are emphasising on business ties with the new democracy, the BMCCI leaders stressed.
For geographical and infrastructural reasons, connectivity between Rakhaine-Yangoon compared to Chittagong-Yangoon is far difficult, time-consuming and as such causes higher transportation cost, they observed, adding Bangladesh can take the advantage by signing a Shipping Protocol.
Shipping business, they said, will not be sustainable without two-way cargo operation between the two countries. Bangladeshi products like pharmaceuticals, building materials, plastic goods etc have prospects in Myanmar, a country which is mostly import dependent, while Bangladesh can import stones for construction and agriculture products from Myanmar's Rakhaine state.
The Shipping Secretary informed the meeting that a draft agreement was ready and even the Standard Operating Procedure was also exchanged between the countries.
In the next Joint Commission meeting, scheduled for next month, this is promised to be kept as an important agenda, he said.