Bangladesh can bridge South and Southeast Asia, says Hasina

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has called on Cambodian businesses to invest in Bangladesh, unlock the true potential of the bilateral relationship and build a bridge between South and Southeast Asia.

Published : 4 Dec 2017, 09:06 AM
Updated : 4 Dec 2017, 09:33 AM

“Traditionally, Bangladesh enjoys close commercial and other links with most of the ASEAN member countries,” said Hasina in an address to the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce in Phnom Penh on Monday.

“Bangladesh finds itself as a `land-bridge` between South Asia and Southeast Asia and gives special emphasis on expansion of trade, investment with ASEAN neighbours.”

Bilateral trade between the Bangladesh and Cambodia, currently at less than $10 million, falls short of its potential, she said.

“They [investors] could also take advantage of Bangladesh’s location as the hub of regional economic activities as the country increasingly gets integrated with the economic corridors of China, Myanmar and India.”

She also highlighted the policies of her government, which she described as the ‘most liberal investment policy in South Asia’.

“It includes protection of foreign investment by law, generous tax holiday, concessionary duty on import of machinery, remittances of royalty, 100 percent foreign equity, unrestricted exit policy, full repatriation of dividend and capital on exit and many more,” Hasina said.

Other advantages include the young, industrious and easily trainable workforce with competitive wages, cheaper costs of establishing business and duty-free quota-free access to the markets of EU, Australia, Canada, India, Japan and New Zealand, she said.

Hasina also drew attention to Bangladesh’s garments, pharmaceuticals, knowledge and ICT industries and the 100 economic zones and hi-tech parks the government is building to promote investment and growth.

“I strongly believe that the institutional cooperation thus established between the two chambers would be instrumental in augmenting mutual trade and investment,” the prime minister said.

“Let us be partners in the quest for prosperity of our two peoples. Together we can bring a change in the life of millions of our people.”

Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali and Bangladesh Investment Development Authority's Executive Chairman Kazi M Aminul Islam also attended the business dialogue.