BANGLADESH GETTING MORE JAPANESE INVESTORS’ NOTICE FOR STRATEGIC LOCATION : ENVOY
Bangladesh has been getting increased attention of the Japanese investors due to its strategic location and offered services for doing business, said Japanese Ambassador to Bangladesh Shiro Sadoshima at a programme on Monday.
“The inquiries from Japan have doubled, and the number of missions has also drastically increased. So the attention is rising.”
He also suggested Bangladesh not to invite general foreign direct investment (FDI), rather to invite FDI with a clear and specific vision.
The Japanese ambassador was speaking at the inaugural session of the JETRO’s symposium titled ‘Look East: Asia’s Economic Integration and Bangladesh Perspective’ at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in the city.
Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) organised the event in collaboration with Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA), Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS), Policy Research Institute (PRI) and Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI).
Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed was present in the programme as the chief guest.
Mr Sadoshima said many Japanese investors went to Myanmar, although Bangladesh and Myanmar have the same facilities.
He said now investors are connected, and they see ICT, communication, logistics and financing etc in doing business in any new place, all of which any businessman can easily avail in Bangladesh.
He noted that though Japan is one of the largest importers of ready-made garments (RMG), Bangladesh could penetrate only 2.0 per cent of the Japanese market, which indicates there is still huge room for Bangladesh.
“Our point is not to invite FDI generally, as it’s a vague term. I don’t like it,” said the Japanese ambassador.
Citing example of a factory at Karnaphuli EPZ, he said although manual production is costly in any factory, Bangladesh can do it at half cost. That’s why Japan will train up Bangladeshi human resources required for high-skilled jobs of the Japanese parts makers or other manufacturers.
Tofail Ahmed said many international organisations have identified Bangladesh as a rising economy and mentioned various positive things about the country, while some local organisations are saying negative things, which is very unfortunate.
Referring to the Rana Plaza and Tazreen Fashion accidents, he said there are accidents in factories of the US and other countries too.
Without mentioning any name, Mr Tofail said Japan, China, Australia, Canada and the EU have given Bangladesh duty-free access, whereas a country which talks much about labour rights has not allowed duty-free access.
“These are the reasons we will look at the East and not at the West. We are searching markets in South America also.”
“I have requested the prime minister to sign free trade agreement (FTA) with Malaysia. We will go for FTA with many countries across the world.”
He said the trade volume between Bangladesh and Japan is US$2 billion, whereas Bangladesh’s export will soon cross $1.0 billion.
“Japan is interested in Bangladesh and we really want to integrate our trade and business with the East,” the minister added.
FBCCI President Kazi Akramuddin Ahmed said to transform the vision of achieving the middle-income country status successfully Bangladesh seriously needs to expand ways to connect with Asian market.
He said 75 per cent of Bangladesh’s total export is to the European and NAFTA markets, while China, India and Malaysia accounts for 55 per cent of its total import. Instead of defining it as trade gap, Bangladesh should see it as a future trade opportunity.
JETRO Dhaka country representative Kei Kawano said 200 Japanese companies are in operation in Bangladesh, and the number is steadily growing.
DECEMBER 02, 2014