PHNOM PENH (CAMBODIA) : Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday calledupon the business community of Cambodia to explore all the avenues to do business in Bangladesh, aiming to be partners in the quest for prosperity of the two nations, reports UNB.
“Let’s be partners in the quest for the prosperity of our two peoples. Together we can bring a change in the lives of millions of our people,” she said.
The Prime Minister was addressing the Cambodia-Bangladesh Business Dialogue as the guest of Honour at the Sofitel Phnom Penh Phokeethra Hotel. The Cambodia Chamber of Commerce organised the event.
She said the business community of Cambodia could also take advantage of Bangladesh’s location as the hub of regional economic activities since the country increasingly gets integrated with the economic corridors of China, Myanmar and India.
“I’m sure Bangladeshi business people will be equally interested in exploring business opportunities in Cambodia,” she said.
About the Agreement of Cooperation between the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) and the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce that will be signed at the end of the dialogue, Sheikh Hasina said she strongly believes that the institutional cooperation thus established between the two chambers will be instrumental in augmenting mutual trade and investment.
Traditionally, she mentioned, Bangladesh enjoys close commercial and other links with most Asean member countries.
The Prime Minister said Bangladesh finds itself as a ‘land-bridge‘ between South Asia and Southeast Asia, and it gives special emphasis on expansion of trade, investment with Asean neighbours.
“Unfortunately, bilateral trade between Bangladesh and Cambodia, which is less than USD 10 million per annum, doesn’t reflect the true potential. Our trade with other Asean countries is growing fast and I wish this to be replicated with Cambodia as well,” she added.
She said Bangladesh has the most liberal investment policy in South Asia as it includes the 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.
“Other advantages include the young, industrious and easily trainable workforce with competitive wages, cheaper costs of establishing business and duty- and quota-free access to the markets of EU, Australia, Canada, India, Japan and New Zealand,” she said.
The Prime Minister said the success in the readymade garments (RMG) of Bangladesh sector is known to world.
Like the RMG sector, she said, other sectors are making a significant progress.
“Pharmaceutical is such a sector. After meeting up 97 percent of our domestic requirements, our pharmaceutical products are exported to 120 countries, including the USA and EU countries,” she said.
Hasina said the industry is now equipped to produce bio-tech products and Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API). “Bangladesh is fast emerging as a major global hub for high quality, low-cost generic medicines.”
The PM said the knowledge industry, ICT and related industry of Bangladesh is also expanding rapidly. “Ship-building is another fast emerging industry in Bangladesh. Our builders have drawn global attention by making world-class light to medium size ocean going vessels.”
She said the government is now establishing 100 ‘Economic Zones’ (EZs) in different parts of the country as part of its new plan to industrialise Bangladesh. “We’re also developing a number of hi-tech parks in Bangladesh for IT industries and investment.”
Hasina said, “We’re transforming the lives of 162 million people to a digitalised knowledge-based society driven by our ‘Digital Bangladesh’ vision.”
She said Bangladesh is now ranked 33rd largest economy in the world in terms of purchasing power parity (PPP). From its subsistence agriculture, Bangladesh is now becoming a modern, process oriented, diversified and value added one, she added.
“We’ve also a very good opportunity in Cambodia. We can produce food grains and set up food processing industries in Cambodia that can solve the need of our country as well as Cambodia and we can even export outside,” she said.
She also hoped that the Bangladeshi businessmen will be interested in producing food grains and food items in Cambodia.
Cambodian Minister of Commerce Pan Sorasak and Bangladesh Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali were present as the special guests. Cambodian Women Affairs Minister Ing Kantha Pahvi and Executive Chairman of Bangladesh Investment Development Authority Kazi Aminul Islam was present on the dais.
President of Cambodia Chamber of Commerce Kith Meng and Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin also spoke at the function.