Bangladesh–Canada relations

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Bangladesh–Canada relations
Map indicating locations of Bangladesh and Canada


Canadian embassy in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Bangladesh–Canada relations are the foreign relations between Bangladesh and Canada established 1972.[1] Canada is represented through its High Commission in Dhaka and Bangladesh is represented through its High Commission in Ottawa.[1] They are members of the Commonwealth of Nations and the United Nations. Bangladesh currently receives ~$100 million from Canadian official development assistance per year as of January 2014.[2] It is estimated that around 34,000 (2012)[3] Bangladeshi people live in Canada, primarily in cities like Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Calgary, Edmonton, and Ottawa.


The bilateral relation between Bangladesh and Canada is traditionally friendly, and has grown over the last forty-seven years. The political relations between the two countries date back to the time of the emergence of Bangladesh as an independent country. The Canadian Government, people and media expressed support and sympathy for Bangladesh's War of Independence in 1971. Canada was one of the first few countries that recognized Bangladesh immediately after the independence (14 February 1972). Eventually Bangladesh accredited its first High Commissioner to Canada in May 1972, and Canada reciprocated in September 1973. Since then there has been a steady development of relations between the two countries. The political relationship is, therefore, supportive and cooperative drawing upon shared links in the Commonwealth and various UN bodies.[4]

Based upon shared values of democracy, freedom, human rights and rule of law, the bilateral relations are focused on trade and investment, regional security, development cooperation, immigration and people to people contact. As a major development partner of Bangladesh, since its independence in 1971, Canada's early development efforts involved reconstruction and rehabilitation, and then gradually moved into governance and rural development, especially in the field of agriculture, water management, primary education and health. Canada has always been appreciative of the firm commitment of Bangladesh to promote democracy and women empowerment. Canadian Government has also been engaged in socio-economic development in Bangladesh through various projects of Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).[4]

Country Comparison[edit]

Bangladesh People's Republic of Bangladesh Canada Canada
Area Area

• Total 147,570[5] km2 (56,980 sq mi) (92nd)

• Water (%) 6.4

• Total area

9,984,670 km2 (3,855,100 sq mi) (2nd)

• Water (%) 8.92 • Total land area 9,093,507 km2 (3,511,023 sq mi)

Population 162,951,560 (2016 Estimate) 37,602,103 (2019 Estimate)
Population density 1,106/km2 (2,864.5/sq mi) 3.92/km2 (10.2/sq mi) (228th)
Capital Dhaka Ottawa
Largest Metropolitan Areas Dhaka Toronto
Government Parliamentary democracy with Islam as state religion Federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy
First leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman John A. Macdonald
Current leader Sheikh Hasina Julie Payette
Official languages Bengali None
GDP (nominal) $314.656 billion $1.930 trillion
GDP (nominal) per capita (2019) US$1,888 US$
GDP (PPP) (2019) US$831.750 billion (2019) US$
GDP (PPP) per capita (2019) US$4,992 US$51,546
Human Development Index 0.608 (medium) 0.926 (high)
Foreign exchange reserves 33,100 (millions of USD) (millions of USD)
Military expenditures US$3.03 billion (1.2% of GDP) US$27.6 billion (2017) (1.29% of GDP)
Active military personnel Active troops:157,050 Active personnel 68,000 (2018)[6]

Reserve personnel 27,000[7]

Main religions Islam (90%), Hinduism (9.5%), Buddhism (0.6%), Christianity (0.4) and others (1%). Canada has become a post-Christian, secular state.The majority of Canadians consider religion to be unimportant in their daily lives,[8] but still believe in God.[9] According to the 2011 census, 67.3% of Canadians identify as Christian; of these, Roman Catholics make up the largest group, accounting for 38.7% of the population. Much of the remainder is made up of Protestants, who accounted for approximately 27% in a 2011 survey.[10][11] The largest Protestant denomination is the United Church of Canada (accounting for 6.1% of Canadians), followed by Anglicans (5.0%), and Baptists (1.9%).[12] Secularization has been growing since the 1960s.[13][14] In 2011, 23.9% declared no religious affiliation, compared to 16.5% in 2001.[15] The remaining 8.8% are affiliated with non-Christian religions, the largest of which are Islam (3.2%), Hinduism (1.5%) and Sikhism (1.4%).[16]

Trade and economic cooperation[edit]

Comparative economic figures (2016)

Type Bangladesh Canada
GDP:($ billion) 302.02 2026.59
GDP per capita: ($) 1,869.97 55,938.56
GDP growth rate: (%) 6.92 1.43
Inflation: (%) 6.35 1.41
Unemployment: (%) 0 7

Bangladesh's export-import business with Canada (2005-2015)[17]

Year Total Export (In million US$) Total Import (In million US$) Balance (In million US$)
2005-06 408.78 128.00 280.78
2006-07 Increase460.27 Increase163.00 Increase297.27
2007-08 Increase539.38 Increase315.72 Decrease223.66
2008-09 Increase670.67 Increase458.57 Decrease212.10
2009-10 Increase672.49 Increase593.21 Decrease79.28
2010-11 Increase1005.55 Decrease549.93 Increase455.62
2011-12 Increase1008.55 Steady549.93 Steady455.62
2012-13 Increase1106.69 Decrease533.61 Increase573.08
2013-14 Increase1113.83 Increase572.80 Decrease541.03
2014-15(up to May 2015) Increase1157.78 - -

Canada - Bangladesh Bilateral Product trade (2011-2015)[18]

Year Canadian Exports to Bangladesh / Bangladesh Imports from Canada Canadian Imports from Bangladesh / Bangladesh Exports to Canada
2011 $552,546,481 $1,063,919,239
2012 Decrease$525,814,581 Increase$1,131,190,965
2013 Increase$660,482,939 Increase$1,191,356,532
2014 Increase$705,237,519 Increase$1,225,608,927
2015 Increase$904,062,220 Increase$1,481,361,244
total between 2011 and 2015 $3,348,143,740 $6,093,436,907

Canada's Merchandise Trade with Bangladesh in 2017[19]

Canadian Imports From Bangladesh / Bangladesh Exports to Canada Canadian Exports to Bangladesh / Bangladesh Imports From Canada
Merchandise Classification % of Total Imports Merchandise Classification % of Total Exports
1. Woven clothing and apparel articles 46.86 Cereals 54.42
2. Knitted or crocheted apparel 38.83 Edible vegetables, roots and tubers 18.43
3. Other textile articles, etc. 6.29 Oil seeds and misc. fruit, grain, etc. 4.93
4. Headwear 1.78 Fertilizers 6.53
5. Footwear 2.88 Iron and steel 7.35
6. Leather articles 0.61 Boilers, mechanical appliances, etc. 1.28
7. Fish, crustaceans, molluscs 0.58 Optical, medical, scientific, technical instrumentation 0.88
8. Umbrellas, whips, walking-sticks 0.35 Woodpulp; paper or paperboard scraps
9. Furniture and stuffed furnishings 0.22 Wood and wood articles, charcoal
10. Ceramic products Electrical machinery and equipment 0.73
% of Total imports from Bangladesh / Bangladesh Exports to Canada 98.65 % of Total exports To Bangladesh / Bangladesh Imports from Canada 97.03
Bangladeshi imports as % of total Canadian imports 0.29 Bangladeshi exports as % of total Canadian exports 0.14

Canada-Bangladesh Product Trade in 2015 [18]

Product Canadian Exports to Bangladesh Canadian Imports from Bangladesh
1. Animal & Prod. $416,838 $4,445,848
2. Vegetables $753,822,607 $1,348,037
3. Fats, Oils & Waxes $152,053 $83,221
4. Food $1,021,707 $2,262,070
5. Mineral $2,449 $716
6. Chemical $73,877,793 $1,643,820
7. Plastics, Rubber $826,152 $1,597,192
8. Leather, Fur $16,191 $5,043,130
9. Wood $3,746,972 $218,744
10. Paper $5,756,002 $119,549
11. Textiles $1,763,825 $1,407,016,741
12. Dress Access. $69,441 $47,998,048
13. Glass & Stone $3,614 $2,429,653
14. Precious Metals/stones - $13,851
15. Base Metal $40,412,312 $79,460
16. Machine, Mechanical & Electrical $12,956,777 $102,424
17. Vehicles and Equip. $2,437,621 $25,966
18. Specialized Inst. $6,156,423 $975,217
19. Arms & Ammunition $14,140 -
20. Misc. Articles $21,815 $4,415,062
21. Antiques $35,050 $104

Commercial relationship between Canada and Bangladesh has grown dramatically over the last ten years (2003-2013). The value of bilateral merchandise trade has more than tripled going from $478 million in 2003 to nearly $1.7 billion in 2012.[1] During this period, Canadian merchandise exports to Bangladesh have more than quadrupled and Bangladesh has become the second largest source of Canadian merchandise imports from South Asia, after India. Canadian merchandise exports to Bangladesh were $525 million in 2012, down slightly from $552 million in 2011, while imports from Bangladesh were $1.1 billion in 2012, equal to 2011.

Canada's main exports to Bangladesh include cereals, vegetables, iron and steel, oilseeds, fertilizers, machinery and electronic equipment. Agri-food was the leading export sector from Canada to South Asia in 2012, making Bangladesh the second largest Canadian agri-food buyer in South Asia after India. The Canada-Bangladesh relationship is particularly important for the province of Saskatchewan. Saskatchewan's exports (mainly wheat, fertilizers and pulses) to Bangladesh have grown more than five-fold over the past 12 years, from $49 million in 2003 to $412.5 million in 2015.[20] In 2014 deal worth US$40 million was signed between Canadian Commercial Corporation and Bangladesh Agricultural Development Corporation for the potash export to Bangladesh. Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall said "It provides Canpotex with new opportunities and access to a country that really needs our potash to boost its agricultural production and achieve its food security goals,"[21]

Canada's main imports from Bangladesh include knit apparel, woven apparel, miscellaneous textile articles, headgear, fish and seafood, and footwear. Canada is a bright spot for Bangladeshi apparel, with garments and textile products making-up the bulk of Canada's merchandise imports from Bangladesh. Bangladesh has enjoyed duty-free market access since 2003. Potential trading opportunities to explore include expanding Canadian imports of ready-made garments, porcelain, jute and quality jute good, ceramic tableware and kitchenware. Garments and textile products accounted for approximate 96% of Canada's merchandise imports from Bangladesh in 2012.[1]

Bangladesh mainly exports apparel products ($1.1 Billion by 2012[22]), frozen fish, plastic items, headwear, footwear, ceramic products, toys, games and sports equipment and furniture to Canada. In 2007, Bangladesh's exports to Canada were $506 million, which rose to $611 million in 2008, $706 million in 2009, $813 million in 2010, $1.078 billion in 2011,[23] and $1.1 billion in 2014.[24] Canada ranks as its sixth largest export destination. Thus, the issue of sustainability of exports to Canada in future years is an important one for Bangladesh.[24]

Bangladesh imports mainly red lentils, cereals, edible oil, oil seeds, miscellaneous fruit items, fertilizer, mechanical appliances, wood pulp, paper/paperboard, scraps, and optical, medical, scientific and technical instruments from Canada. Bangladesh is the second largest importer of Canadian food grains and other agricultural products in South Asia. Moreover, potential areas of trade from Bangladesh to Canada are shipbuilding, pharmaceuticals, leather and leather goods and IT.[25]

The volume of Bangladesh-Canada bilateral trade stood at US$2 billion in 2016[26][27] and aims to reach $5 billion by 2020.[28][29][30][31] Canadian High Commissioner Laramée said the new Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wanted to work with Bangladesh, especially on environment and climate change issues.[32] He also stated Canada's interest in working with Bangladesh on gender equality and in the health sector.[32][33] There are also opportunities for Canadian companies to invest in the areas of food and agro processing, IT and telecommunications, renewable energy, engineering, automotive,[34] shipbuilding, services and hospitality sectors.[25]


In Canada, Bangladesh's culture and traditions are observed and practised by Bangladeshi immigrants and descendants of past generations of immigrants.[citation needed]


Hundreds of Bangladeshi students immigrate to Canada every year to attend Canadian universities and colleges.[citation needed]

Defense cooperation[edit]

Canada exported $90,018 worth of electronic equipment to Bangladeshi military.[35] Military Training and Cooperation Program (MTCP) operates a number of training programs throughout the Asia-Pacific region, including Bangladesh.[36]


  1. ^ a b c d Government of Canada, Foreign Affairs Trade and Development Canada. "Canada – Bangladesh Relations". Archived from the original on 2017-09-16. Retrieved 2015-12-26.
  2. ^ "Canada and Bangladesh: Beyond Rana Plaza – Centre for International Policy Studies".
  3. ^ Canada, Government of Canada, Statistics. "2011 National Household Survey: Data tables – Ethnic Origin (264), Single and Multiple Ethnic Origin Responses (3), Generation Status (4), Age Groups (10) and Sex (3) for the Population in Private Households of Canada, Provinces, Territories, Census Metropolitan Areas and Census Agglomerations, 2011 National Household Survey".
  4. ^ a b "Political Relations". High Commission for Bangladesh, Canada.
  5. ^ "Health Bulletin 2016" (PDF). Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS). p. 13. Archived (PDF) from the original on 13 June 2017. Retrieved 11 September 2017.[verification needed]
  6. ^ Citation error. See inline comment how to fix.[verification needed]
  7. ^ Citation error. See inline comment how to fix.[verification needed]
  8. ^ Citation error. See inline comment how to fix.[verification needed]
  9. ^ Citation error. See inline comment how to fix.[verification needed]
  10. ^ Citation error. See inline comment how to fix.[verification needed]
  11. ^ Citation error. See inline comment how to fix.[verification needed]
  12. ^ Citation error. See inline comment how to fix.[verification needed]
  13. ^ Citation error. See inline comment how to fix.[verification needed]
  14. ^ Citation error. See inline comment how to fix.[verification needed]
  15. ^ Citation error. See inline comment how to fix.[verification needed]
  16. ^ Citation error. See inline comment how to fix.[verification needed]
  17. ^ "Bangladesh-Canada Export-Import Statistics". High Commission for Bangladesh, Canada.
  18. ^ a b Government of Canada, Foreign Affairs Trade and Development Canada. "Fact Sheet". Archived from the original on 2017-06-15. Retrieved 2016-05-19.
  19. ^ Canada, Asia Pacific Foundation of. "Canada's Merchandise Trade with Bangladesh".
  20. ^ Editorial, Reuters. "Canada seeks to increase exports to Bangladesh - trade official".
  21. ^ Giles, David. "Deal signed to bring Saskatchewan potash to Bangladesh".
  22. ^ "How Canada Welcomed Bangladeshi Clothing Imports".
  23. ^ "Bangladeshi diaspora can attract more Canadian investment". 17 September 2012.
  24. ^ a b "Bangladesh's Exports to Canada: Part 1".
  25. ^ a b "Trade Relations". High Commission for Bangladesh, Canada.
  26. ^ Sarker, Sujit (20 May 2016). "Bangladesh's bilateral trade with Canada crosses US$2b". Archived from the original on 24 June 2016. Retrieved 23 May 2016.
  27. ^ "Trade with Canada crosses $2b". 20 May 2016.
  28. ^ "Bangladesh aims to boost trade with Canada to $5 billion by 2020".
  29. ^ "Bangladesh to increase their two way trade with Canada to $5 billion by 2020".
  30. ^ "Bangladesh and Canada to look at reaching US $ 5 billion two-way trade by 2020 - Apparel Resources". 17 February 2015.
  31. ^ "Canada for concerted efforts to boost trade with BD - - Samakal Online English Version". Archived from the original on 2016-06-11. Retrieved 2016-05-24.
  32. ^ a b "Canada names Benoît-Pierre Laramée new High Commissioner to Bangladesh".
  33. ^ "Hasina emphasises direct flights between Bangladesh and Canada".
  34. ^, Hafez Ahmed @. "Canada for concerted efforts to boost trade with Bangladesh".
  35. ^ "Report on Exports of Military Goods from Canada". Global Affairs Canada. 21 January 2011. Retrieved 27 September 2015.
  36. ^ "Canada's Defence Relations in the Asia-Pacific Region". The Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces. 21 November 2014. Retrieved 27 September 2015.

External links[edit]