EU-Bangladesh Business Climate Dialogue launched in Dhaka

The EU-Bangladesh Business Climate Dialogue has been launched in Dhaka to jointly address “major impediments” to better EU trade and investment.

Published : 12 May 2016, 05:42 PM
Updated : 12 May 2016, 05:42 PM

It was also aimed at expanding economic relations, the EU delegation in Dhaka said on Thursday after the first meeting between the EU Business Council (EUBC) and the Bangladesh Ministry of Commerce.

Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed and senior officials from various ministries and agencies attended from the Bangladesh side.

On the EU side, the EU Ambassador and the heads of diplomatic missions of the EU member states and representatives from the EU private sector in Bangladesh took part in the dialogue.

The EU said the discussion took place in a “constructive atmosphere recalling the longstanding partnership between Bangladesh and the European Union”.

The EU stressed the need to expand European exports and investment.

Five important areas were discussed to improve the business climate in Bangladesh, including import duties or customs or trade facilitation, licenses and investment in the service sector, financial flows, tax regime, and pharmaceuticals.

The discussion also focused on the Special Economic Zones (SEZ) that Bangladesh offers as a “new avenue” for foreign investment.

EU Ambassador Pierre Mayaudon said “genuine new” foreign direct investments fall short of expectations in Bangladesh despite the country having “many assets” to attract investors.

He termed it a “paradox” and flagged some issues including political uncertainties and “growing militancy” that stood in the way of investors coming to Bangladesh.

“But the angle we have chosen for this EU-Bangladesh Business Climate Dialogue is of a different nature,” he said.

“Numerous meetings of the EU Business Council have been devoted to identifying, documenting and putting in perspective the main obstacles - legal, technical or just practical - the European private sector is facing in expanding its business in Bangladesh,” he said.

Both sides agreed to continue discussions and to reconvene before the end of the year in order to monitor progress, according to a EU statement.

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher