‘Dhaka, Manila should look into more South-South cooperation’

As both Bangladesh and the Philippines are emerging economies, the two countries should look into more South-South cooperation, speakers opined at a webinar.

They also said Dhaka and Manila have enormous potential to increase bilateral trade and investment and should widening cooperation between the countries of Asia’s two regions.

The webinar was hosted by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), Manila, the Bangladesh Philippines Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BPCCI), Dhaka, and the Embassy of Bangladesh in the Philippines.

The webinar titled ‘Bangladesh-Philippines Economic Ties: Growing Together’, was organised to discuss bilateral trade and investment potential and present an overview of the Bangladesh economy and Bangladesh’s economic engagement with the ASEAN, according to a news release issued on Saturday.

As both Bangladesh and the Philippines are emerging economies, BPCCI President Akber Hakim said the two countries should look into more South-South cooperation.

“Bangladesh could use the Philippines’ vast experience in IT and BPO fields and also expertise in skills training on hospitality and nursing whereas the Philippines could benefit from Bangladesh’s RMG and pharma sectors,” he pointed out.

In this context, the business leader emphasised the need for matchmaking to ensure effective benefits to the two sides.

BPCCI Director RizwanRahman suggested that direct air-link between the two countries would go a long way in promoting bilateral trade and investment.

Executive Director of SANEM SelimRaihan, in his presentation, highlighted the progress in Bangladesh’s relations with ASEAN, saying that there is a huge room for trade and investment growth.

Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia are the top four countries in terms of trade and investment relations with Bangladesh while the bilateral trade with the Philippines is still ‘very small’, he mentioned.

Describing the areas of similarities between the two countries, AsadAlam Siam, Bangladesh Ambassador to the Philippines, observed that Bangladesh is the natural geographic bridge between South Asia and Southeast Asia. “So, the potential for inter-regional trade is limitless,” he added.

Ambassador Francis Chua, Chairman Emeritus and Director for International Affairs of PCCI, highlighted close historical relations between the two countries since Bangladesh’s independence and emphasised enhancing cooperation in the years ahead.

Ambassador Benedicto V Yujuico, President of PCCI, echoed the sentiment, saying that the PCCI’s ‘Centre for Innovation’ could play a vital role in identifying the potential areas of cooperation