Korean Ambassador Lee Jang-keun paid a call on Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi on Wednesday (Feb10) and further discussed strengthening bilateral ties in trade and investment.
Appreciating Korea and Bangladesh's excellent relations during the past several decades, they agreed to make joint efforts to maximize the yet untapped potential of cooperation between the two countries.As of 2020, according to Bangladesh Bank, Korea is the fifth largest investor in Bangladesh, after the US, UK, the Netherlands, and Singapore, with 1.17 billion US dollars of total accumulated stock investment. Korea is the largest foreign investor in EPZs with 75 companies operating in the EPZs. Youngone, the operator of KEPZ, is the largest Korean investor in Bangladesh, which employs around 70,000 local workers, said the Korean Embassy.
Despite the close ties between the two countries, however, bilateral trade volume has remained stagnant at the level of 1.6 billion US dollars for several years.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Korea's export to Bangladesh decreased by 19.4% in 2020 to 1.03 billion US dollars from 1.28 billion US dollars in 2019, whereas Bangladesh's export to Korea decreased by 2.9% to 393 million US dollars in 2020 from 405 million US dollars in 2019.
While garment and textile, leather are major export items of Bangladesh, steel and machinery closely related to investment activities are the main export items of Korea to Bangladesh.
Korea is providing duty and quota-free access to the Korean market to 95% of Bangladesh products since 2012.
Both sides agreed to make efforts to diversify items of export and import.To this end, the Commercial Ministries of the two countries organized a webinar on Exploring Trade and Investment Opportunities between Korea and Bangladesh on January 27, 2021.
Ambassador Lee spoke highly of the impressive accomplishment of the Bangladesh economy amid tremendous challenges from the corona pandemic and expressed solidarity with the government and Bangladesh people in the fight against the virus.
Ambassador Lee asked Minister Munshi to lend assistance to the Korean companies having invested in Bangladesh for their successful business operation in the country and provide foreign investors with favorable business environments.
He emphasized the importance of the success of KEPZ in attracting major investment by Korean companies.