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Mexico and Latin America, a large market waiting for Bangladesh

  • Published at 08:14 pm October 6th, 2021
Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

Various Bangladeshi products such as apparel, pharmaceuticals and jute may have untapped potential, experts suggest

Experts and government officials are eying expanded trade relations with Mexico by penetrating into the second largest economy of Latin America next year.

“The current trade volume between Bangladesh and Mexico is hovering around $300 million. From that, exports to Mexico are over $290 million, while Latin America’s exports from our market are less than $10 million” Bangladesh Ambassador to Mexico Abida Islam told Dhaka Tribune recently.

Bangladesh should diversify its export basket to penetrate into Mexican markets with products like jute and jute goods, leather goods, pharmaceuticals and high-end readymade garments, she also said.

Mexico is among the 15 largest economies in the world and the second largest economy in Latin America, said Abida Islam.

The country is the third largest economy in North America and is swiftly becoming a modernized nation with more industrial and service sectors to maintain and promote economic growth nationwide.

“Considering the size of the population and the buying capacity of Mexico, Bangladesh has high prospect of increasing trade relations with the Latin American market” said the Bangladeshi envoy.

In 2019, exports of goods and services of Mexico grew by 1.1%, reaching $490.7 billion; while imports decreased by 1.1%, reaching $503.4 billion - taking trade balance to a surplus of $5.4 billion.

Other destinations for Mexican exports include the EU (4.7%) and Canada (3.1%). As per imports, the main origins include the US (46.6%), China (18%), the EU (11.4%) and Japan (3.9%).

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On July 1, 2020, the USMCA trade agreement entered into force in all member states, replacing NAFTA.

Like many other industrial countries worldwide, Mexico experienced an economic downturn last year. But the economy of Mexico has started picking up after massive vaccination of the total population and containment of the Covid-19 pandemic, said the veteran diplomat.

A director of the Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) told Dhaka Tribune that Bangladesh can boost its export to $1 billion in the next five years by diversifying the export basket.”

Meanwhile, Jannatul Ferdous Nipa, vice-president of Indian Importers Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and also director of Bangladesh Garments Executive Association, said last week that Mexico's textile and clothing sector was currently one of the country's most powerful, with annual exports of $7 billion. Due to growth of automotive, aerospace and medical services, demand for technical textiles, industrial fabrics and specialty apparel has increased over there.

Bangladesh mainly exports cotton, textiles and shoes to Mexico and Mexico mainly exports motors for elevators to Bangladesh.

Nipa, also a foreign exports analyst, said that many Mexican entrepreneurs expressed their excitement to visit Bangladesh for possible trade relations.

They also encouraged Bangladesh businessmen to participate in two different mega fairs – Intermoda and Puebla.

Bangladesh’s introduction at this fair would really set an example and help the country move forward with this incredible opportunity and show to be a win for both countries, she also said.

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Mexico is truly the land of beauty, rainforests, great food and a billion-dollar textile industry. The country’s first textile factory was established in Puebla in 1830 and as the years went by the competencies of manufacturing have improved and the sectors growth has evolved, Nipa added

Meanwhile, State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam MP during his recent visit to Mexico held talks with Mexican Deputy Minister for Foreign Trade Luz Maria de la Mora Sanchez in Mexico City.

Bangladesh and Mexico signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on Foreign Office Consultation (FOC) to start a dialogue to expand bilateral relations including strengthening trade and commerce.

Mexican and Bangladeshi business communities have set a target to uplift the trade figure above $1 billion.

Shahriar Alam also participated in the MoU signing ceremony between FBCCI and Mexican Business Council for Foreign Trade, Investment and Technology (COMCE) during a breakfast meeting with Mexican business persons, organized by the Bangladesh Embassy.