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Dhaka Tribune

French envoy asks companies to consider dynamism, resilience of Bangladesh

  • Trade summit follows Macron's September visit to Bangladesh
  • 30 French companies have offices in Bangladesh
  • Both sides aim to boost investment in resilient infrastructure
Update : 26 Oct 2023, 02:08 PM

French Ambassador Marie Masdupuy has encouraged her country’s companies to consider the “dynamism and resilience” of Bangladesh and to build on the visit of President Emmanuel Macron to Dhaka in September.

“Growing business ties is an important part of the work towards a strategic partnership,” she said while speaking at the first Bangladesh-France Trade and Investment Summit inaugurated in Paris on Monday.

The Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission (BSEC) and Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) jointly organized the event on the heels of President Macron’s historic visit on September 10-11 when Bangladesh and France agreed to work towards “taking the partnership for peace, prosperity and people to a strategic level.”

The Bangladesh delegation led by PM's Private Industry and Investment Adviser Salman F Rahman had the “opportunity to meet and exchange with French companies in specific sectors such as energy, IT, agro and infrastructure development,” the French embassy in Dhaka said in a Facebook post.

Range of relations

Macron’s visit, particularly after his trips to Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu and Sri Lanka, was seen as a diplomatic milestone for Bangladesh and France's push to consolidate its presence in the Indo-Pacific.

With la Réunion and the overseas territories in the Western part of the Indian Ocean, as well as New Caledonia and Polynesia in the Pacific Ocean, France considers itself an Indo-Pacific nation. 

Through the visit, the French president tried to portray the image of Bangladesh as an emerging country that is looking to the rest of the world with the capacity to become one of the 30 largest economies by 2030.

Both countries reiterated their interest in expanding bilateral trade and exploring the potential for investment in quality and resilient infrastructure development in Bangladesh, including in the railway sector.

In a joint statement, Macron and Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina also expressed the hope that the Bangladesh-France Trade and Investment Summit from October 23-25 in Paris and Toulouse would inject new impetus into bilateral trade and investment relations.

Two-way trade between Dhaka and Paris reached an all-time record of €4.9 billion in 2022, boosted by a surge of Bangladesh’s readymade garment exports to France.

TotalEnergies, involved in the LPG sector and Bureau Veritas, with multiple certification facilities across Bangladesh, is the main French investor in Bangladesh.

As of today, 30 French companies have an office in Bangladesh, most of them in the RMG sector, logistics shipping or engineering.

French companies are involved in flagship projects such as Thales, which is engaged in updating the air traffic management at Dhaka airport, including an additional radar for the third terminal which will be launched soon.

The JV Suez International and OTV-Veolia are building a water treatment plant in Gandharbpur to extract 500,000 cubic metres daily in order to supply safe drinking water to 4.3 million people in Dhaka.

Thales Alenia Space commissioned Bangabandhu Satellite-1, the first satellite of Bangladesh, in 2018, which is a communication satellite used mostly by TV channels.

During Macron’s visit, Bangladesh signed a letter of intent for another satellite from Airbus, which will be the country’s first earth observation satellite.

Bangladesh will also buy 10 A350 wide-body aircraft from Airbus.

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