Country’s bilateral trade with Canada witnesses four times growth in 14 years, potential for exporting non-RMG goods is there
Bangladesh has emerged as one of the top 10 export destinations for agricultural products grown in Saskatchewan, a North American prairie best known as food basket of Canada.
Official statistics show, Saskatchewan exported agricultural products worth 13.4 billion Canadian Dollars (CAD) to 141 countries across the globe last year, including 10 markets with more than CAD $220 million in sales.
Saskatchewan’s top export destinations are: China, United States, Japan, Mexico, Algeria, Morocco, Indonesia, United Arab Emirates, Bangladesh and Peru.
Saskatchewan is home to more than 40% of Canada’s cultivated farmland with 18.9 million hectares. Saskatchewan is Canada’s primary growing region for grains, oilseeds and pulses.
Last year Bangladesh’s agro-product imports from Saskatchewan was worth CAD $223 million, which was in fact over a third of Bangladesh’s total CAD $651 million imports from Canada in 2018. Of total imports 70 percent were agricultural items.
Canada’s main exports to Bangladesh include cereals, pulses, iron and steel, potash and chemicals. Bangladesh is Canada’s fourth largest pulse (dry peas, lentils, chickpeas etc.) export market and a major market for high quality wheat.
Bangladesh mainly imports wheat, pulses, canola oil and potash from the Canadian province of Saskatchewan.
Speaking to this correspondent last week at Elstow farm neighbourhood in Saskatchewan, farmer Bob Rugg said they grow quality seeds of cereals and pulses and sell the same to fellow farmers in this crop-rich Canadian province thereby helping Saskatchewan grow marketable surplus of quality agricultural products.
Canada being world’s largest potash producer and exporter, has supplied Bangladesh with one million tons of the alkaline potassium compound, most commonly used in fertilizers, since 1971. The bulk of Canada’s potash industry is located in Saskatchewan.
Canada’s commercial relationship with Bangladesh has grown significantly over the last 14 years with the value of bilateral merchandise trade nearly quadrupled from little over CAD $600 million in 2004 to CAD $2.4 billion last year.
As against CAD $651 million worth of imports in 2018, Bangladesh exported goods worth CAD $1.7 billion to Canada.
Canada’s main merchandise imports from Bangladesh include: woven apparel, knit apparel, miscellaneous textile articles, headgear and footwear. Garments and textile products make up bulk of Canada’s merchandise imports from Bangladesh, which has been enjoying duty-free market access to Canada, for most goods, since 2003.
Potential trading opportunities for Bangladesh to explore include: porcelain, leather goods, jute and jute goods, ceramic, tableware and kitchenware, and frozen fish.
Speaking at the 4th Showcase Canada 2018 (Trade and Education Fair) in Dhaka last year, then commerce minister Tofail Ahmed had said, “If the present trade facilities offered by the Canadian government remain unchanged, Bangladesh’s exports to Canada will reach $3 billion by 2021.” The event was organized by the Canada Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CanCham Bangladesh) and supported by the High Commission of Canada, Bangladesh.
Over the last 10 years, Saskatchewan has consistently produced over 30 million ton of field crops. In 2018, Saskatchewan farmers produced 35.4 million tons of cereal grains, oilseeds and pulses. This resulted in CAD $13.4 billion worth of agricultural exports in 2018.
Last year, Saskatchewan produced 90% of Canada’s lentils, 89% of the country’s total chickpea output, 82% of flaxseed, 80% of durum, 78% of mustard seed, 54% of canola seed, 50% of dry peas, 49% of oats and 38% of wheat.
In 2018 Saskatchewan was responsible for 73% of the world’s canary seed (feed for caged birds) exports, 43% of lentil exports, 32% of both global oat and dry pea exports, 30% of world’s durum exports, 26% flaxseed exports, 24% of canola seed exports, 23% of mustard seed exports, 22% of canola meal exports, 21% of global canola oil exports, and 5% of the world’s total wheat exports.
Saskatchewan has more than six million hectares of pasture land dedicated to permanent cover for forage crops and large quantities of high-quality feed. It is Canada’s second largest beef cattle producer. Saskatchewan also contributes to Canada’s hog and sheep production and is home to one-third of Canada’s bison herd.
One of the key pillars in Saskatchewan’s economy is the province’s exports. The overall performance of Saskatchewan’s exports and exporters is one of the leading indicators of the province’s economic strength and resiliency.
Overall, the value of Saskatchewan’s exports rose 11.2% to approximately CAD $31.2 billion last year, an increase of approximately CAD $3.1 billion from 2017. This placed 2018 above the 10-year average of approximately CAD $29.3 billion.
Export shipments to Saskatchewan’s top 10 export markets accounted for approximately 87.1% of the province’s export sales. With the United States and China continued to hold top spots, Bangladesh held ninth spot last year with CAD $306 million worth of imports from Saskatchewan, meaning nearly half of Bangladesh’s CAD $651 million imports from Canada comes from this province only.