Newly appointed Brazilian Ambassador in Dhaka Joao Tabajara de Oliveira Junior sees wider economic cooperation with Bangladesh, a country which he describes as a very “dynamic and growing economy”.
“Our relations are excellent, politically, diplomatically and economically. We have taken these to a higher level. Now this opens vast avenues to explore in areas of trade and investment,” he said in an exclusive interview with The Daily Star.
At present, the bilateral trade between Bangladesh and Brazil is about $1.3 billion, according to de Oliveira Jr.
“We can now start exploring more areas,” he said, while appreciating Bangladesh's socioeconomic advancement in recent years, propelled by GDP growth of more than 6 percent.
Through Brazil, Bangladesh can access other South American markets such as Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, French Guiana, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela.
He said Bangladesh needs to be better informed about Brazil.
“I would try to show Bangladesh what Brazil really is, so that they can see the potential and expand relations in many aspects.”
Brazil must also know more about Bangladesh as the economic potential is huge. “It's undeniable.”
He said Bangladesh is in the first group if he divides all countries in the world that are doing very well on the economic front.
“It's growing -- Bangladesh is a very dynamic country. This is what I have to show Brazil.”
The ambassador is planning to invite a Brazilian trade mission to Bangladesh with a view to exploring new trade opportunities.
“We have to organise and finalise our strategy and plan of action.”
Bangladesh imports lot of sugar while Brazil imports garment products from Bangladesh. “I think we need to diversify our trade.”
Trade can be complemented with investment and if it happens it will be better, de Oliveira Jr said.
“We still have many things to do. We need a cooperation agreement as we both are very active in international platforms including the UN.”
Tax is not a barrier if the Bangladeshi products have a competitive market price, he said, while highlighting the need for direct contact and direct business to ensure more profit for both sides.
He also laid emphasis on easing of visa procedures, especially extending two-year multiple entry visas for businesspeople. “This is something we must discuss. We have to discuss many areas to identify whether there is any barrier.” In March this year, Bangladesh and Brazil held their first ever bilateral consultation immediately after signing a preliminary agreement in this regard.
Both sides agreed to sign the agreement to create a platform that would bring further momentum into the ongoing bilateral relationship between the two countries, according to the foreign ministry.
A wide range of issues encompassing political, economic, defence, trade and investment are now being discussed between the two countries. The second Bangladesh-Brazil bilateral consultation is expected to be held in Brasilia next year.