DHAKA (Reuters) - Bangladesh aims to raise its exports of readymade garments (RMG) to Canada at least fivefold to $3.5 billion by 2021, the chief of the Canada Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CanCham Bangladesh) said on Sunday.
Masud Rahman said total Bangladeshi exports to Canada stood at $1.1 billion in the fiscal year to June 2014, making it the fifth biggest market for the Asian country. Of that figure, RMG - Bangladesh’s main export - totaled $770 million.
“The country aims to increase the value of its RMG exports (globally) to $50 billion by 2021 when it will become a middle income country,” Masud told reporters after talks with leading international RMG buyers.
Official data show Bangladesh earned $30.18 billion from global exports in the last fiscal year, with RMG making up 81 percent of that figure. The United States, Germany, Britain and France ranked ahead of Canada as the biggest export markets.
In Sunday’s talks, the buyers suggested measures to increase Bangladeshi exports to North America, including securing power supplies, boosting productivity, lowering bank rates to cut production costs and reducing delivery times.
Beniot Pierre Laramee, High Commissioner of Canada in Bangladesh, told reporters Bangladeshi exports, especially RMG, to his country had increased steadily since Ottawa allowed them duty-free access in 2003.
Masud urged greater Canadian direct investment - currently just $300 million - into the economy of Bangladesh, which has grown by about six percent annually for more than a decade and is projected to expand by 7.2 percent in this financial year.
Editing by Gareth Jones