“In the recent years, Government of Bangladesh has taken several steps to become a leading investment destination in south Asia. These include competitive labour, friendly business environment and progressive labour laws. Government of Bangladesh has set up Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (BEZA) to accelerate investment in the Country. BEZA offers incentive packages, one-stop service, promote and protect investment in economic zones. Bangladesh enjoys tariff-free access to EU, Canada and Japan and enjoys 60 per cent of readymade garments market share and is one of the top manufacturing exporters. It further offers liberal FDI regime in South Asia, 100 percent foreign equity with unrestricted exit policy, remittance of royalty and repatriation of equity and dividend. It also has export-oriented industrial enclaves with infrastructural facilities and logistic support for foreign investors through its economic zones,” said Mr. Ashoke Kumar Biswas, Executive Member, Additional Secretary, Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (BEZA) in a Keynote Address at an interactive programme on ‘Doing Business with Bangladesh: Opportunities and Way Forward’ jointly organised by MVIRDC World Trade Center Mumbai and All India Association of Industries in association with Bangladesh Deputy High Commission in Mumbai at WTC Mumbai.
BEZA plans to establish 100 economic zones in next few years. It is developing Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Nagar (BSMSN) as the flagship Economic Zone of Bangladesh. Speaking on the opportunities for Indian companies in BSMSN, Mr. Biswas added, ”BSMSN is only 70 km away from Chattogram Sea Port. This port handles over 85% of country’s exim business. BSMSN is expected to play an important role in the economy of Bangladesh. Adani Group, Asian Paints and Pune based, Nidar Industrial Park of Hiranandani Group have already invested in this economic zone.”
Mr. Md. Lutfor Rahman Deputy High Commissioner of Bangladesh in Mumbai presented the overview of Bangladesh economy and its growing bilateral relations with India. In his address, he said that under the visionary leadership of Hon’ble Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh has made tremendous success in its pursuit of rapid, inclusive and sustainable development in the economy and social sectors during the last 10 years. A robust 8 per cent GDP growth in last three consecutive years, reduction of poverty to less than 23 per cent, record inflow of FD, a comfortable foreign exchange reserves of more than 33 billion USD and a record growth of remittance, 2nd largest exporters of apparels, 3rd largest outsourcing country, 4th largest rice producing country, 5th largest freshwater fish producer, 8th largest foreign remittance receiving country in the world signifies Bangladesh as the growth center of South Asia. He presented the geographical advantage of Bangladesh for India in connecting with North East India. He said, “Bangladesh also offers significant advantage for western India to connect with North East India through coastal connectivity.” He added that his office is expediting business visa for Indian companies and announced that priority is given to provide multi-entry, long term business visa on priority to Indian businesses.
Earlier Mr. Vijay Kalantri, Vice Chairman, MVIRDC World Trade Center Mumbai in his welcome address said, “India and Bangladesh shares social, economical and cultural relations for centuries. Bangladesh is India’s closest neighbour and provides huge scope for textile, chemicals, leather, power and energy sectors. Bangladesh’s rapid economic growth and stable currency makes the country a favourable destination for Indian businesses. Presently the bilateral trade between both countries in USD 10 billion and is expected to double in next three years.” He further added that while India welcomes import from Bangladesh, Indian export at present faces lot of barriers. These include unnecessary delays in clearance at ports as well and further attract additional duties and urges Bangladesh officials to address them favourably.
On this occasion a panel discussion was also organized to discuss opportunities and success stories of Indian companies in Bangladesh. Dr. Sidhdhartha Roy, CEO, SR Associates said, “The World Bank has projected to grow bilateral trade between both countries to USD 16 billion in next few years from the present USD 10 billion. This provides tremendous opportunities for in chemicals, pharma, leather, medical services, fertilizers, gems & jewellery and other allied sectors. The labour intensive market together with progressive labour policies makes Bangladesh as the most favoured destination for labour intensive business.” Mr. Ahasan Ullah, Deputy Secretary and Manager – Investment Promotion, BEZA provided a detailed overview of BEZA.
Ms. Rupa Naik, Senior Director, MVIRDC WTC Mumbai moderated the session and urged Indian companies to look at Bangladesh as the investment destination due to its proximity with India and said that the trust of both countries in improving land and sea connectivity will help business in both countries to grow rapidly.
Photo Caption: From (L-R): Mr. Ahasan Ullah, Deputy Secretary and Manager – Investment Promotion, BEZA; Ms. Rupa Naik, Senior Director, MVIRDC World Trade Center Mumbai; Mr. Vijay Kalantri, President, All India Association of Industries; Mr. Ashoke Kumar Biswas, Executive Member, Additional Secretary, BEZA; Mr. Md. Lutfor Rahman, Deputy High Commissioner of Bangladesh in Mumbai; Mr. Y. R. Warerkar, Director General, MVIRDC World Trade Center Mumbai; Captain Sandeep Mehta, President, Adani Ports and SEZ Ltd; Mr. Harikrishnan Sundaram, Associate Vice President, Adani Ports and SEZ Ltd and Mr. Siddharth Roy, Chief Executive Officer, SR Associates at the interactive programme on ‘Doing Business in Bangladesh: Opportunities and Way Forward’ organised by MVIRDC World Trade Center (WTC) Mumbai and All India Association of Industries held at WTC Mumbai.
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