Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday offered a dedicated economic zone to the United States to set up industries in Bangladesh.
“We are constantly improving our physical, legal and financial infrastructures to facilitate foreign investment. My government is establishing 100 Special Economic Zones for rapid industrialisation. We are offering one dedicated Special Economic Zone for American companies to establish manufacturing facilities,” she said.The premier came up with the proposal while virtually launching the US-Bangladesh Business Council.
The premier said the launching of the US-Bangladesh Business Council reflects the growing interest of the US business community about investment and doing business in Bangladesh.
“I hope it will help expand economic partnership between our two countries. My government will continue to support the activities of US-Bangladesh Business Council in the coming days,” she said.
“It is important that both the countries provide adequate policy support to further expand bilateral trade,” she added.
The premier said Bangladesh exports goods worth around 8 billion to US, of which 80 percent is garment items.
“Our exporters pay on an average 16 percent tariff. We buy considerable amount of industrial raw materials and consumer items like cotton, soybean, and wheat from the United States. All these items enjoy zero tariffs in Bangladesh,” she said.Sheikh Hasina said the United States has remained a strong partner in our journey towards democracy and development.
“It is the largest destination of our exports, the largest source of foreign direct investment, a longstanding development partner and an important source of technology and training,” she added.
The premier said Bangladesh received the final recommendation of the UN in February to graduate from LDCs.
Bangladesh is now marching towards achieving the target of becoming a high-income developed and prosperous country by 2041, she said.
“We have made remarkable progress in socioeconomic fronts. Our economy has shown great resilience even during the COVID-19 pandemic,” she said.
While Bangladesh’s dependency on foreign aid has reduced substantially, the premier said the need for foreign direct investment increased to create employment for millions of youths.
She said Bangladesh’s sustained economic growth, rapidly expanding domestic market and growing connectivity with a vast regional market of 4 billion people makes it a promising destination for US business and investment.
“We are constantly improving our physical, legal and financial infrastructures to facilitate foreign investment. My government is establishing 100 `Special Economic Zones’ for rapid industrialisation. We are offering one dedicated Special Economic Zone for American companies to establish manufacturing facilities,” she said.
“Digital Bangladesh has been an integral part of our ‘Vision 2021’. I want to thank my ICT Adviser Sajeeb Wazed for his support for the planning and implementation of our vision of a modern Bangladesh capable of using technology to improve transparency in governance and spur economic development,” she added.
The premier said Bangladesh now exports ICT products worth more than US$ 1 billion to over 60 countries with the US being the top export destination.
“According to the USAID’s Comprehensive Private Sector Assessment 2019 for Bangladesh, the ICT industry is expected to grow nearly fivefold to reach nearly five billion USD by 2025. Bangladesh is now developing 28 Hi-tech parks for ICT industries with local and foreign investment. We are offering one Hi-Tech Park for ICT investment by US companies,” she said.
The premier said the launching of the council is taking place at a time when Bangladesh is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the glorious independence of Bangladesh and the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
“I have taken over his unfinished work of realising his dream of a Golden Bangladesh free of poverty, exploitation and economic disparity,” she said.