The United States (US) will designate the first ever full-time commercial attaché in Bangladesh soon considering the importance of growing trade and investment relationships, ambassador Peter Haas told a meeting on Tuesday.
“Many US and international businesses want to expand in the region. And we want to help Bangladesh create a business climate that is as welcoming as possible to foreign investment,” Haas said while addressing the annual general meeting of the International Business Forum of Bangladesh (IBFB) as the chief guest at a city hotel.
Lauding Bangladesh’s economic growth, the US envoy further said Bangladesh has a great macroeconomic story
to tell as it has been among the fastest growing economies in the world over the past decade even during challenging times.
“Bangladesh’s GDP grew even during the pandemic and according to the Asian Development Bank, the economy is estimated to grow by 6.6 per cent next year,” he said.
The US envoy said the country has managed so far managed its debt well and is taking important steps to deal with the inflationary pressures resulting from Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.
European Union head of delegation Charles Whiteley was the special guest at the event where IBFB President Humayun Rashid made the address of welcome. Policy Research Institute (PRI) Chairman Dr Zaidi Sattar was the conference speaker.
The business leaders also called upon the policymakers to bring necessary changes and implement those by replicating the successful RMG (readymade garment) model to other export-oriented sectors.
Praising Bangladesh’s economic progress over the years, Charles Whiteley said the country has to ensure an equal level playing field for both local and overseas investors.
EU wants to work with Bangladesh for its smooth transition from the least developed countries' group, the EU envoy said.
Referring to the importance of export diversification as a key to sustainable growth, he said Bangladesh needs to replicate the successful RMG model in other non-RMG sectors.
He also suggested rationalization of the tariff structure.
In the address of welcome, IBFB President Humayun Rashid said the platform is consisting of business leaders from all over the country, including resource and knowledge-based individuals.
“The private sector is considered as the engine of economic development in a developing economy. IBFB highly appreciates the investment in the energy and communication sector to achieve a growth rate of above 8 percent despite so many odds,” he said.
The growth of FDI last year has proven the confidence of overseas investors, the trade body leader claimed.
IBFB vice president MS Siddiqui, founding president Mahmudul Islam Chowdhury, vice-president Lutfunnisa Saudia Khan and BFB Chittagong Chapter President SM Abu Tayyab, were also present on the occasion.
IBFB re-elected Humayun Rashid as its president for a second term while MS Siddiqui and Lutfunnisa Saudia Khan have been elected as vice-presidents.
Other elected directors are: Nabil Group Managing Director Aminul Islam, Albion Group Chairman Mohammed Raisul Uddin Saikat, Roots Sourcing Managing Director Waliul Islam, Multi Trade International’s proprietor Iqbalur Rahman, Deen Impex Chairman Mohammad Ali Deen and Novo Cargo Managing Director Syed Mustafizur Rahman.
Incorporated in 2005, IBFB is a research and advocacy-based non-profit and non-partisan nationwide business forum that works as a bridge between the private sector stakeholders and policymakers.