PM Hasina urges US companies to boost investment in Bangladesh

Bangladesh has the most liberal investment policy in South Asia, says the premier

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday said Bangladesh needs enhanced investment from its friendly countries, especially from the USA, as it aspires to become a developed and prosperous country by 2041.

“Bangladesh has been recommended to graduate from the least developed country (LDC) in 2026. We are aspiring to become a developed and prosperous country by 2041. For that purpose, we need enhanced investment from our friendly countries, especially from the US,” she said.

The prime minister said this at a meeting with the first-ever visiting executive business delegation of the US-Bangladesh Business Council at her official residence Ganabhaban.

She said that Bangladesh is now an attractive investment destination. Along with physical infrastructure, the government has upgraded and eased the rules and regulations relating to investment and business.

“Bangladesh has the most liberal investment policy in South Asia and that foreign investment is protected by acts of Parliament and bilateral treaties,” she said.

Highlighting her government's development programs she mentioned that the entire country has recently been brought under electricity coverage.

“We are upgrading our road, railways, and water communications by implementing some mega projects,” she said.

Sheikh Hasina told the delegation that her government is setting up 100 special economic zones for domestic and foreign investors across the country.

“We may earmark one of the zones exclusively for the US investors if you desire so,” she said.

She said that demographic dividend and the government’s focus on developing skilled manpower ensure that investors here get skilled human resources at competitive wages.

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The prime minister said that Bangladesh-US friendship is based on common values and shared interests and it is reflected in expanding overall business relations.

“Our trade relations can be further strengthened with duty-free access and other trade privileges in the US market,” she said.

In this regard, she said Bangladesh is ready to commence Free Trade Agreement-FTA negotiations with the US at an appropriate time.

She mentioned that export volume increased by more than $3 billion during the last five years. The export volume rose to $7.6 billion in 2021-22 from $5.8 billion in 2016-17.

Since independence, she said, the US has been one of the trusted development partners and it is contributing to Bangladesh’s socio-economic progress. The US is the single largest source of FDI and export market for Bangladesh.

“I believe US companies will take the advantage and invest more in potential sectors like power and energy, ICT, infrastructure, light engineering products, electronic goods, automobile, agro-processing, pharmaceuticals, ceramics, among others.”

She said that the government is pursuing a long-term growth strategy for its citizens which is sustainable as acknowledged by the global economists and organizations.

Sheikh Hasina also said that the government has taken a pledge to realize the “Golden Bangla’’, the dream of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to turn Bangladesh into poverty- and hunger-free prosperous country.

“With such strong prospect, I would now assure you of the best possible policy framework to ease our business and investment climate," she told the delegation.

She hoped that the US-Bangladesh Energy Taskforce which was launched in September 2021 will help advance energy cooperation between the stakeholders of both countries.

“Likewise, the proposed US-Bangladesh Digital Economy Taskforce will contribute to deepening the cooperation of companies of both countries to ensure our sustainable development.”

She hoped that the business delegation would be able to understand the congenial atmosphere and feel confident about their potential investment in Bangladesh.

In this connection, she said that Bangladesh is now recognized for its state-of-the-art manufacturing factories in various sectors like RMG, leather, plastic, jute, ICT, agro-processing, and many more.

“It is our time now and please take your time taking opportunities of our conducive investment regime. I wish every success of the US-Bangladesh Business Council,” she said.

Board Chair of US-Bangladesh Business Council Jay R Pryor, Board members of the US-Bangladesh Business Council, and business executives from Bangladesh and US also spoke at the meeting.