The weeklong trade and investment summit has ended with pulling in $1.16 billion foreign investment proposals, including a $1 billion Chinese investment in railway infrastructures.
Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) President Rizwan Rahman revealed this at a post-summit press briefing at DCCI conference room in the capital on Monday.
Of them, a Chinese company showed interest in investing $1 billion on railway infrastructures, but DCCI has requested them to come through the government channel as such investments are done on a G2G basis, he added.
Commerce Secretary Tapan Kanti Ghosh was also present at the press conference.
The ministry of commerce and DCCI jointly organised Bangladesh Trade & Investment Summit 2021 from October 26, aiming to showcase Bangladesh before the world marking the Mujib year and 50 years of the country’s independence.
At the summit, 20 companies from 13 countries showed interest in joint venture investment, while six countries showed direct investment interest in six sectors.
The areas of potential investment range from infrastructure, pharmaceuticals, baby bottles, umbrella and agro and food processing and IT.
At different sessions of the summit, speakers underscored the need for improving ease of doing business, policy reforms, technology adaptation, skill development, fiscal and non-fiscal incentives, strong economic diplomacy and signing FTA or PTA with potential trading partners.
They said Bangladesh has the ability to grab huge opportunities from African, Asia & Pacific and Middle Eastern countries in terms of inward or outward investments.
Bangladesh has also a large consumer market, so local market resource mobilization and tariff rationalization are also important, Rizwan Rahman pointed out while summarising the summit outcome.
The speakers also reiterated a strong and vibrant bond market and innovative blended financing model to ensure long term infrastructure financing.
The most important focus of the discussants was on enhancing the country’s export competitiveness in the global market after the LDC graduation.
Bangladesh is already a member of some regional blocks like SAFTA, APTA, D-8. However, the country needs to go for PTA or FTA with other major trading partners.
Replying to a few questions from the journalists, Commerce Secretary Tapan Kanti Ghosh said that after LDC graduation Bangladesh may need to sign FTA or PTA with potential trading partners like EU countries, UK, Canada, Japan, Australia etc.
“After LDC graduation in 2026, Bangladesh has to move forward with competitiveness as it has to face stiff competition from its peers then,” he observed.
At the same time, the world has to extend support for Bangladesh after its exit from the LDC bracket as it is home to 18 per cent population of the least developed countries, he stressed.
While speaking of some demerits of FTAs, he said a drastic duty cut is not possible as it may hamper internal revenue generation and local manufacturers. But it may be considered gradually.
Regarding ease of doing business, he said the government is trying to bring all its major services for instance land registration, mutation, company registration in joint-stock companies under automation that will ease the process simplification in near future.
In reply to another question, he said that the government will surely consider the demand for an economic zone especially dedicated to the leather industry.