MoU with Korea to Facilitate Infrastructure Development in Bangladesh

In his recent visit to Bangladesh, the South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak- yon expressed his nation’s willingness to invest in potential sectors such as power, ICT, hi – tech park in Bangladesh to bolster trade ties between the two nations. Not too long ago there was a news of the construction of Payra coal- fired plant project, a Sino- Bangladeshi consortium. Besides this, even the US and EU have been vocal about the prospective investment in this South Asian nation. 

As per a World Bank report, market- based economy of Bangladesh is one of the fastest growing economies and growth rate for the outgoing fiscal year was pegged at 7.3%. Also, in all likelihood, Bangladesh will overtake Pakistan in terms of per capita GDP in 2020, along with purchasing power parity. What has led to this increased investment in the nation? Why is Bangladesh’s economy booming?

A lot of its credit goes to quality governance in Bangladesh- led by its dynamic Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her advisers such as economic affairs Mashiur Rahman, adviser on private industry and investment Salman F Rahman. Envoys from Awami league led government have not only visited the developed nations for a possible tie- up but have also received various diplomats, officials in the capital from EU, China, Japan and the US, ensuring a satisfactory consensus between the two. 

Bangladesh, with a market of 170 million people offers the developed nations huge untapped potential for economic cooperation, investment and trade. Furthermore, recent meetings at diplomatic levels and trade levels have ushered a new chapter in the country’s development. The same was conveyed when Lee Nak- yon while praising the ongoing development and success of Bangladesh, expressed his willingness to enhance economic cooperation and boost up Korean investment. 

The meeting titled “Korea- Bangladesh Business Forum” held at Hotel InterContinental Dhaka was jointly organized by the Korea International Trade Association (KITA) and the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI).

Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi, FBCCI President Sheikh Fazle Fahim, Prime Minister’s adviser Salman F Rahman, among others were a few personalities who were present and spoke at the program. The Korean premier at the forum described the importance of Korea- Bangladesh Business Forum, as it can help advance the bilateral relations between the two Asian nations to a new level. He, however, also observed that Bangladesh may also need to expand its export basket beyond readymade garments and ship building industries. 

These words are certainly a boost to the government’s existing vision to diversify its export basket. At a recent workshop held in the capital, Salman F Rahman echoed the same notion when he said, “To ensure export diversification, similar fiscal and other policy supports currently available for apparel industry will be a given to other export- oriented sectors. Trade facilities for the apparel sector should not be reduced, rather it will be continued.”

To signify the event, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the FBCCI and the Korea International Trade Association was signed. In light of this, FBCCI President Fazle Fahim said, “With duty- free, quota- free market access to 90.4% of our tariff line to Korea, bilateral trade prospects are promising.”

With the availability of a young workforce, positive government policies and diversified export- oriented approach, there exists a vast scope of economic opportunities. Recent investments and official MoUs with the developed nations is very likely to change the landscape of Bangladesh in the upcoming years.

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