Economy

Bangladesh seeks South Korea’s help to move from ‘trading to producing’ nation

BySenior Correspondent

Executive Chairman of Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) Kazi M Aminul Islam sought the support from the Korean businesses as he believed their “knowledge and expertise” will help Bangladesh achieve its dream of being a developed country by 2041.

He was speaking on the investment opportunities in Bangladesh before the Korean investors at a seminar in Seoul on Friday.

The Bangladesh embassy in the Korean capital said this is the first-ever investment seminar Bangladesh has hosted there. Over 100 companies attended the event and interacted with both government officials and private sector leaders.

The bilateral relations have flourished since the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1973.

Bangladesh is now Korea’s “priority partner country” when it comes to the development cooperation as indicated by the local embassy.

In the 1970s, Korean entrepreneurs came to Bangladesh and set up the first garment factories for export, giving the apparel industry a boost.

Korean investors are running many big clothing factories in Bangladesh, employing thousands of workers.

Apart from apparel, big companies like Samsung and LG have also expanded their presence over the years. The two-way trade is around $ 2 billion.

Formed through the merger of the Board of Investment and Privatization Commission in October 2016, BIDA is trying to spread the message of investment potentials in Bangladesh across the world.

The South Korea seminar followed similar events in Osaka and Tokyo.

“The message we tried to convey is that Bangladesh is the best place for making investments now. This is the right time to be in and invest,” BIDA boss Islam told bdnews24.com.

According to him, they portray the “facts” about Bangladesh instead of painting a rosy picture.

Strategically located between South Asia and Southeast Asia, Bangladesh has the potential to be a “production hub” of South Asia.

“We sought South Korea’s support to be a producing country from the trading country,” he said.

He said he also interacted with the Bangladeshis who are working in South Korea and asked them to invest back in home.

“Usually, they return after 10 years with their deposits. They can take the opportunity of investments. I told them about the special BIDA cell for non-resident Bangladeshis where they can call anytime and seek any support.”

“We told them we are reducing the time and cost of starting businesses. We are trying. Things will improve by the day.” He thought the expertise and know-how of the expatriates would also be useful.

The non-resident Bangladeshis there said they will set a ‘Bangladesh Forum’ where the investment-related issues will be discussed.

Ambassador Abida Islam, Chairman of Petrobangla Abul Mansur Md Faizullah, and Managing Director of Energypac Humayun Raaashid also spoke at the seminar.

Executive Vice Chairman of the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) Jundong Kim, Vice Chairman of the Korean Importers Association (KOIMA) Hyun-myoung Kim and representatives from Korean business organisations willing to invest in Bangladesh also addressed the seminar.

The business representatives of both the countries sat together in a B2B meeting after the seminar.

The Bangladesh embassy said after the seminar, the Korean side showed “keen interest to invest in Bangladesh and also stated that they will send a trade delegation to Bangladesh.”

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