A leader of Myanmar garment producers has invited Bangladesh to work together in fighting global business challenges.
“Now there are many challenges in the world. TTP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) is coming. Why don’t we work together? We can fight together for US GSP,” Khine Khine Nwe Rosaline, Secretary General of Myanmar Garment Manufacturers Association, said in Dhaka.
Miran Ali, a director of Bangladesh garment association BGMEA, acknowledged the need for joint efforts and said he had already planned a visit to Myanmar.
“I’ll go to East Africa next week, and then I’ll go to Myanmar,” he said, replying to a question at the discussion.
The interaction on garment sector networking was part of the Bangladesh German Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s (BGCCI) conference on global social responsibility.
The Burmese business leader’s invitation was in contrast to its government’s policy towards Bangladesh.
Persecuted Rohingya issue has long been a thorn in relation with Myanmar denying the citizenship of the Muslim minorities who fled state sponsored violence at Arakan (Rakhine) province and took shelter in Bangladesh in their thousands.
Bangladesh, which is looking for a gateway to Southeast Asia through Myanmar, is working to build confidence keeping aside the refugee issue, according to the foreign ministry officials.
Rosaline, however, found no problem between the businesses of the two countries.
“There is no mistrust between Myanmar business and Bangladesh business,” she told bdnews24.com on the sidelines.
“Working together can ultimately help build good relations between the countries,” she believed.
After decades of sanctions, Myanmar has recently been opened to businesses.
Currently, the country has around 400 garment factories that employ between 350,000 and 400,000 workers. Bangladesh’s nearly 3,500 factories employ about 4 million workers.
Myanmar exports $1.8 billion and has set a $10-billion-mark target for the next 10 years, while Bangladesh eyes doubling current exports to $50 billion by 2020.
But neither country enjoys the GSP privilege in the US market.
Bangladesh has voiced concerns over the recently formed TPP that Dhaka believes might “adversely impact” its exports to the US and some other TPP countries.
The TPP is a trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim countries on a gamut of economic policy issue.
Referring to a proverb, the Burmese business leader said: “If you want to go fast you travel alone. If you want to go far, you travel in a group.”
“We have to go far and far in future. Let’s fight together,” she said, seeking Bangladesh’s partnership.
She said Bangladesh was “so much advanced” in the garment industry that “we want to learn the growth story”.
She said six months back they sent a delegation to visit Bangladesh’s factories and learn about business operations.
“We’ll send another delegation shortly,” she said.
She added that both countries must be “fully equipped” with proper business rules before embarking on a joint endeavour.
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