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Prime Minister offers economic, industrial zones to Chinese investors

PMKUNMING, China, June 7, 2014 (BSS) – Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today said Bangladesh would very much like to have China as a valuable partner in sharing its progress and prosperity.

Sheikh Hasina invited the Chinese business, trade and industry leaders to visit Ban
gladesh and appraise the realities first-hand.

“I hope that you would surely find a very attractive environment and opportunities of business in this country, offering the most liberal investment policy in South Asia,” she said.

The Prime Minister said this while addressing the 9th China- South Asia Business Forum at Haigeng Conference Centre here this morning.

Vice President of Maldives Mohamed Jamil Ahmed, Secretary General of SAARC Arjun Bahadur Thapa, President of SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry Ismail Asif, Chairman of China Council for Promotion of International Trade Jiang Sengwei, Secretary of Committee of People’s Congress of Yunnan Province Qin Guangrong spoke on the occasion, among others.

Commerce ministers of different SAARC countries, including Bangladesh Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed, and leaders of trade bodies from China, Bangladesh, the Maldives, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Nepal joined the Forum.

Sheikh Hasina said Chinese investors might find interest in Bangladesh’s special investment programmes like building international airports, seaports, waterways, transport, and expressways under Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) and Build-Own-Operate- Transfer (BOOT) schemes.

“Bangladesh is now producing products from “Ships to Chips”. Our seaports, land ports and airports are facilitating local and  international business,” she said.

The Prime Minister said Bangladesh Export Processing Zones (EPZs) are attractive places for foreign investment. “Bangladesh government is considering allocating a separate economic and industrial zone in Chittagong for Chinese investors,” she said.

Besides, she added, seven exclusive economic zones are being developed in Bangladesh.

Sheikh Hasina thanked the Governor of Yunnan for inviting her to the 2nd China-South Asia Exposition.”It’s an appreciating move of Chinese leadership to reach out its neighbors for trade and commerce,” she said.

The Prime Minister said Bangladesh-China relationship is based on close and comprehensive partnership, which has evolved through cooperation based on mutual trust and respect.

“Bangladesh is earnestly desire to strengthen the ties,” she added.

Praising China’s economic and technological progress, she said China is moving to becoming the largest economy in the world, with economic emancipation of its people.

“This has been possible due to China’s dynamic and visionary leadership,” she said.

Sheikh Hasina said the close proximity of Kunming and Yunnan provinces holds a special place in relations between China and Bangladesh.

“Early realization of the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar- Economic- Corridor would bring socioeconomic benefits for the whole region,” she said.

Highlighting Bangladesh’s recent socioeconomic progress, the Prime Minister said Bangladesh is now on the track of becoming a middle-income country, fulfilling its “Vision 2021”.

She said Bangladesh’s success in different socioeconomic sectors during her immediate past five-year tenure from 2009 to 2013 was remarkable. “During this period, the country’s annual GDP growth rate was over six percent,” she mentioned.

Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh’s 50 million people were graduated to be middle-income from low-income group during that time.

“Besides, the country’s export earnings increased by 107 percent, remittances by 62 percent, foreign reserves by 217 percent and power capacity by 109 percent during that time,” she said.

The Prime Minister said Bangladesh’s liberal investment policy, sound credit rating, availability of young workforce at affordable wages are attracting more and more FDI every year.

Chinese assistance in infrastructure building like roads, bridges, highways, urban transportation, and power generations has been a great boost in moving Bangladesh\’s economy forward,she said.

Sheikh Hasina said China is one of Bangladesh’s largest trading partners and the largest source of import.

“Sino-Bangla trade is growing and in the fiscal year 2012-2013, Bangladesh’s export to China was only $458.12 million but import was $6.307 billion,” she said.

To reduce the trade gap, she said, more Bangladeshi products need to get duty- free access to Chinese market.

“China also needs to import more garments, apparel,pharmaceuticals, handicrafts, ceramics, leather products and fishes from Bangladesh,” she said.

The Prime Minister observed that more investment by Chinese entrepreneurs in Bangladesh could help in reducing the trade gap, she said.

“Chinese manufacturers can take the advantage from Bangladesh’s duty-free and quota-free access to the markets of European Union, Canada, Australia and other developed nations,” she said.

Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh’s investment regime is the most liberal in South Asia, which allows 100 percent foreign equity with unrestricted exit policy, easy remittance of royalty,repatriation of profits, protection of foreign investment and steady energy prices.

Moreover, she said, Bangladesh’s strategic geographic location also makes its exports accessible to a huge market of three billion consumers of South and South East Asia and China, she said.

The Prime Minister said Bangladesh is now home to many manufacturing industries, worthy human resources, vibrant private sector, good infrastructure with sound macroeconomic management system, robust banking and financial sector.

She said Bangladesh’s ever-expanding multifaceted social safety nets and the use of ICT and delivery of e-services have energized the country’s socioeconomic activities, thereby creating an enabling environment for business and investment.

Sheikh Hasina said she believes that China as a trusted friend of Bangladesh would support to its efforts in achieving targets.

“Apart from involvement in infrastructure development and energy capacity building, Chinese investors may come forward in joint venture or individual investment in other sectors,” she said.

The Prime Minister said pharmaceuticals, petrochemicals, shipbuilding, agro- based industries, textiles, ceramics,leather, tourism, manufacturing, ICT, training and development of human resources, design and planning in high valued-added sectors can been the best areas for Chinese investment in Bangladesh.

Photo: PID

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