• Wednesday, Dec 08, 2021
  • Last Update : 12:52 pm

Trade and Investment Summit kicks off

  • Published at 07:42 pm October 26th, 2021
Bangladesh Trade & Investment Summit

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina urged businesspeople and trade body leaders to conduct research on innovating new products to add to the country’s export basket

A total of 552 companies from 38 countries of five continents are taking part in 450 business-to-business (B2B) match-making sessions over the next six days through the ‘Bangladesh Trade & Investment Summit 2021’.

The summit kicked off on Tuesday with the call for investing in Bangladesh, taking its competitive advantages.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina virtually inaugurated the weeklong conference jointly organised by the government’s Ministry of Commerce and DCCI.

“Those who will come to invest in Bangladesh will also get the opportunity to access South and South Asian markets,” the prime minister said, highlighting the prospects and incentives for foreign investors to make investments in Bangladesh.

She also urged businesspeople and trade body leaders to conduct research on innovating new products to add to the country’s export basket.

Local industry leaders and stakeholders are hopeful that the summit will bring in foreign investments from all across the globe by exposing participants to opportunities and the growth trajectory of Bangladesh. 

They also hope that it will help the local economy to explore new frontiers of trade and investment while sustaining its momentum.

Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen, Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi, Prime Minister’s Private Industries and Investment Affairs Adviser Salman F Rahman, Commerce Secretary Tapan Kanti Ghosh, President of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) Md Jasim Uddin, and DCCI President Rizwan Rahman were present at the inaugural session of the summit alongside with eminent business leaders and foreign ambassadors. 

According to expert stakeholders, Bangladesh offers the most liberal FDI regime in South Asia, allowing 100% foreign equity; the unrestricted exit of royalty; equity with a wide range of tax concessions and incentives; a vibrant capital market and a strong demographic dividend.

Stakeholders also think that the duty-free, quota-free market access that Bangladesh shares with developed and developing partners such as the European Union (EU), United Kingdom (UK), Canada, Japan, China and India would be a good motivating factor for investors that would be explored over the series of webinars.

However, although more than 70% of the exports are covered by preferential access, graduation from the LDC category would deprive such support measures after 2026. 

But the government is working hard to retain existing market access through negotiations and signing free trade with the big export partners for smooth graduation, which will also be highlighted during the summit.

The stakeholders believe that Bangladesh has bright prospects of becoming a manufacturing hub if investors invest and the investment summit aims to bring in investments, as well as highlight nine sectors underscoring critical enablers and avenues of the economy.

The sectors are — infrastructure (physical, logistics and energy), IT/ITES and Fintech, leather goods, pharmaceuticals, automotive and light engineering, plastic products, agro and food processing, jute and textiles and FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) and retail business.

However, plastic, frozen seafood, ceramics, wood products, home appliances are also potential sectors along with the ICT industry. 

It is also expected to expand at great speed, with increasing use of the mobile internet technology, internet banking, e-commerce and markets growing. 

During the inauguration, speakers pointed out that Bangladesh has non-physical incentives including profit repatriation tax holiday, duty-free import with hundreds of economic and industrial zones being developed

Bangladesh is currently one of the fastest-growing economies of the world with more than 6% growth for the last decade and marked an 8% plus trajectory right before the Covid outbreak, recording a 5.47% growth, double-digit export growth, and consistent foreign reserve.

It has also been termed as the third-largest growth making economy in 2020, expecting to surpass the GDP of Netherlands, Denmark, Hong Kong, Philippines, Singapore and many others by 2025. 

Businesses would profit if they identify opportunities of investing across nine different sectors of the country, the stakeholders said.

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