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Dhaka Tribune

FM: Bangladesh is well aware of evolving geopolitical situation

  • ‘Bangladesh strengthens its measures to attract FDI through establishing new EPZs’
  • ‘There is a lot of potential to increase agro products exports from Bangladesh’
Update : 14 Feb 2024, 06:31 PM

Foreign Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud on Wednesday said Bangladesh government is well aware of the evolving geopolitical scenario in the region and is taking prudent steps in this regard. 

"This evolving geopolitical scenario has created both opportunities and challenges for us," he said. 

Bangladesh government has strengthened its measures to attract FDI through establishing new EPZs keeping in view the emerging geopolitical scenario, he added. 

The foreign minister was speaking as the chief guest at a seminar on 'Economic Diversification and Global Market: Bangladesh's Opportunities and Way Forward' organized by Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS) in the capital. 

Hasan Mahmud laid emphasis on export diversification to boost earnings from the export and help grow the economy to achieve its development goals.

Bangladesh's export has increased but not diversified, now is the time to go for rigorous programs to diversify not only products but also services and markets, he said. 

The foreign minister said value-added RMG, pharmaceutical products, plastic, leather, jute goods, shipbuilding and also skilled manpower are some of the areas of focus for export diversification.

He said there is a lot of potential to increase agro products exports, including mangoes from Bangladesh.

"Today, the contribution of industries to the GDP is 33 percent. We would like to take it to 50 percent and become an industrialized country," Hasan Mahmud said.

He said Bangladesh has made tremendous progress over the last 15 years despite challenges from multiple fronts including negative impacts of climate change.

"This is not just magic. This is because of the magical leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina," said the foreign minister.

Member of Parliament Abul Kalam Azad, Foreign Secretary (Senior Secretary) Masud Bin Momen and Additional Secretary of Agriculture Ministry Dr Shah Md Helal Uddin spoke as the special guest. 

Bangladesh Agriculture University's Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology Professor Dr Mohammad Jahangir Alam, Dhaka University's Economics Department Professor Dr Muhammad Shahadat Hossain Siddiquee, Associate Professor Dr Md Deen Islam and International Relations Professor Dr Rozana Rashid spoke as the panelists. 

BIISS Chairman Ambassador AFM Gousal Azam Sarker moderated the seminar while its Director General Major General Abu Bakar Siddique Khan delivered the welcome address and Research Director Dr Mahfuz Kabir presented the keynote paper.

The experts and policymakers said Bangladesh needs to go for vigorous programmes for diversifying products, markets and branding to increase exports and improve competitiveness to face the post-LDC challenges.

Bangladesh's economy has made laudable achievements over the years despite facing many challenges and nowadays it is cited as a role model for development, they said.

However, they observed that Bangladesh needs to reform policies and improve regulations to facilitate the businesses and improve the investment environment.

Bangladesh's major export markets are Europe and America and 85 percent of the export is RMG.

There are huge potentials of exporting agro-processed items, leather, jute and related goods, pharmaceuticals and ICT products, they observed. 

Senior officials from different government ministries, members of the diplomatic community, former ambassadors, senior military officials, media, academia, researchers, faculties and students from various universities, business community and representatives from international organizations participated in the seminar.

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