PM’s Greetings to Argentine President: A Gateway to Latin American Market

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Being a fast-growing economy and ranked among the top expanding markets, Bangladesh during the graduation period in 2026, and even in the earlier period, will need a more stable economy to maintain growth. For that, the country should take steps to enhance its cooperation in different regions to put apples in different baskets. Argentina having a connection with the G-20 can be tagged as an emerging economy and added to the domain of Bangladesh’s trade. Both countries are experiencing the developing phase and are significant for their respective regions. Hence their partnership can be a bridge between the regions also. Meanwhile, on December 19, 2022, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina congratulated Argentina President Alberto Angel Fernandez on winning the FIFA World Cup and suggested the two nations establish embassies in each other’s cities. Here the love and enthusiasm for football galvanized the initial approach taken by the government of Bangladesh to spur the relationship. Besides, by exploiting the relationship, Bangladesh can make an entry into the South American market also since the market can help Bangladesh to diversify the economy to confront the global economic downturn.

The opening of a diplomatic mission in Argentina in 1972 marked the beginning of formal diplomatic relations between Bangladesh and Argentina, which were terminated six years later, in 1978. Besides, there hasn’t been any other apparent development in the bilateral ties other than the official visits of the former foreign secretary of Bangladesh, Mohamed Mijarul Quayes, to the Latin American nation in 2011 and the trip to Dhaka by the Argentine Undersecretary of Foreign Policy, Claudio Javier Rozencwaig, and the Argentine Ambassador to Bangladesh, Hugo Gobbi, to celebrate 50 years of diplomatic affairs.

However, the world cup has ended and the world has witnessed the Champion. It’s Argentina. Meanwhile, a warm gesture from both sides (Bangladesh and Argentina)has been expressed. After every world cup, it is tabled in the following table that the GDP of the winning team has usually boosted. There will be opportunities.So, to grab the opportunity Bangladesh should act fast since the Argentina president also thanked Bangladesh and it can be tagged as giving permission to go for further enhance friendship and opening a mission in both countries. Against such a backdrop, the write-up will cover the trading relation between Bangladesh and Argentina. Besides, Bangladesh’s potential to further penetrate the Latin American market will be assessed also.

Bangladesh and Argentina maintained a very tiny amount of trade because of lack of proper diplomatic tie-in. Though it rises in a steady fashion. In 2021 both way trades reached at 889 million USD. Which is almost double of the previous year’s 438 million USD. Bangladesh exports apparel products, ceramic products, plating materials, footwear, and so-onOn the other hand animal fat, oil,vegetable fats, oil, and footwear are supplied by Bangladesh.The amount in terms of currency is not a significant one, but the prospect is there.

Currently, Bangladeshi nationals must travel to New Delhi, India, as it is where the Argentinian Embassy is located, in order to obtain an Argentinian visa. On the other hand, for the inconvenience, the other way around tourist arrival is not eminent. In fact in the tourist industry of Bangladesh, no significant visits are posited by any Latin country.

Besides, Around $8.2 billion of the $11 billion in exports during the April-June timeframe of fiscal year 2021-22 came from the nine countries-the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Canada, and Belgium. So, to ensure a stable and risk-free export of RMG Bangladesh needs to diversify the market. Moreover, there should be diversification in other sectors also to cope with the global economic instability.

Therefore, Argentina may be a possible market as a result of Bangladesh’s need to diversify its garment industry. Additionally, Argentina may import world-class goods from Bangladesh at lower costs, such as ceramics, melamine, ships, and pharmaceuticals. The decision on the visa waiver agreement for Bangladeshi diplomats and government officials may be reviewed by Bangladesh and Argentina. Besides, Bangladesh can attract tourists from Argentina since the domain is untouched yet.

According to figures from the World Bank, the GDP of the founding nations in 2020 was around $1.9 trillion, making Mercosur one of the greatest economic blocs in the world. Comparatively, the Pacific Alliance, Latin America’s second-largest trading bloc, has a combined GDP of nearly $1.8 trillion. The COVID-19 pandemic’s start caused the bloc’s economy to suffer significantly: the same year, Brazil’s GDP declined by roughly 4%; similarly, Argentina’s economy shrank by over 10% and is still in a recession.

Associate nations of Mercosur are Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, and Suriname. When dealing with the full members, their tariffs are reduced, but they are not given full voting rights or unrestricted access to their markets.

Bangladesh can exploit the relation with Argentina to grab the vast market for both-way trade. Already there are trades happening with different Latin countries. But the recent issue will boost the volume and can facilitate a stronger and sustained formal relation with the Latin bloc. It will boost the economy of Bangladesh. Bangladesh will enjoy a more frequent and vibrant diversification in its trading domain.

– Syed Raiyan Amir and S. M Saifee Islam, Research Associate at the KRF Center for Bangladesh and Global Affairs (CBGA).

Published in Daily Observer [Link]