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‘Bangladesh-Japan business corridor: stakeholders dialogue and way forward

Japanese investors can invest more and Bangladesh can be the next big investment destination for Japanese investors.

With more and more special economic zones are being built in Bangladesh and a lot of renowned Japanese companies are interested in increasing their operations here, experts said that at a webinar on the ‘Bangladesh-Japan business corridor: stakeholders dialogue and way forward’, organized by HSBC Bangladesh in partnership with the Japan External Trade Organisation (Jetro), the bank said in a statement.

japanese-investment-Bangladesh
Figure: a webinar on the ‘Bangladesh-Japan business corridor: stakeholders dialogue and way forward’, organized by HSBC Bangladesh in partnership with the Japan External Trade Organisation (Jetro). Courtesy: Collected

Salman F Rahman, the Prime Minister’s Private Industry and Investment Adviser said, “Japan has been one of the main destinations for Bangladeshi goods.”

The bilateral relationship has also improved in other areas, especially in trade and investment. And Bangladesh will do its best to facilitate Japanese investment in Bangladesh, he added.

The webinar event brought together Japanese multinationals working in Bangladesh, possible Japanese investors, big infrastructure project contractors, Japanese stakeholders enabling the policies and profile of Bangladesh to aid businesses to advance their Bangladesh-Japan commercial business opportunities.

Naoki Ito, Japan’s ambassador to Bangladesh said, “The establishment of Araihazar Economic Zone is a $1 billion investment project, which will attract lots of Japanese investment.”

The zone has the potential to be the best economic zone in Asia by overcoming challenges of the business environment such as tax, custom’s clearance and foreign remittance as well as giving incentives.

“HSBC’s extensive global network offers unparalleled access to high-growth markets like Bangladesh,” said Matthew Lobner, head of international and head of strategy and planning for the Asia Pacific at HSBC.

“By leveraging our international footprint, we connect businesses to a network covering more than 90% of the global GDP, trade and capital flows.”

A message from Bangladesh Bank Governor Fazle Kabir was also read out at the event.

“Japan has been a key trusted development partner of Bangladesh’s growth story and the momentum is expected to grow exponentially in the coming years,” said Kabir.

“The two key sectors where Bangladesh is expected to witness significant Japanese investments are energy and infrastructure development,” he added.

Kabir also said Japanese investments that to cater to growing domestic demand and facilitate supply chain reconfigurations also hold immense growth potential.

Japanese investment in Bangladesh soared 160% year-on-year to $72.9 million in 2019.

A Jetro survey found that 70% of the existing Japanese companies in Bangladesh are keen on expanding their operations.

Shahabuddin Ahmed, Ambassador of Bangladesh to Japan; Md Sirazul Islam, executive chairman of the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority, and Paban Chowdhury, executive chairman of the Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority, also spoke at the event.

Hayakawa Yuho, chief representative for Bangladesh office at the Japan International Cooperation Agency; Yuji Ando, Country Representative at Jetro Bangladesh; Takasuke Sekine, head of global business at HSBC Japan, and Md Mahbub ur Rahman, CEO of HSBC Bangladesh, also shared their thoughts.

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