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Bangladesh boosts appeal as investment destination

By YANG HAN in Hong Kong | China Daily Global | Updated: 2022-11-30 09:43

Fifteen train coaches were loaded onto ships at Tianjin Port and will be exported to Chittagong, Bangladesh. [Photo by Chen Bu/For chinadaily.com.cn]

As one of the fastest growing economies in the world, Bangladesh has emerged as an attractive investment destination despite the global economic downturn and supply chain disruptions, a forum heard on Monday.

"In Bangladesh today, we believe that trade and investment are pillars of development," said Israt Ara, consul general of Bangladesh in Hong Kong, during a seminar on business and investment opportunities between Bangladesh and Hong Kong. The seminar was hosted by the Bangladesh Consulate General.

Despite the global economic downturn, Bangladesh still maintained its goal to achieve over 7 percent of GDP growth this year, she said, adding that the country can be a destination for investment as the COVID-19 pandemic, geopolitical tensions and related sanctions have disrupted the global supply chain.

Ara pointed out that her country is among the world's top 10 fastest-growing economies, and is on track to be the 25th largest economy by 2035, moving up from its current 41st place.

The South Asian nation is expected to graduate from least developed country status by 2026 to become a developing country that is dependent on a trade-driven economy.

"We have reduced the level of poverty from 31.5 percent to 20.5 percent in the last decade," said Ara, adding that Bangladesh has an abundant young workforce and also the world's second-largest pool of online workers.

Ara said her nation is building more than 100 special economic zones and 12 high-tech parks to support manufacturing and the information and communications technology sector.

Since Bangladesh joined the Belt and Road Initiative in 2016, the BRI has become one of the key guiding principles of bilateral economic cooperation, with China emerging as Bangladesh's key economic partner, the top source of foreign investment, and one of the largest business and trade partners.

Wingco Lo, vice-president of the Chinese Manufacturers' Association of Hong Kong, said the partnership between China and Bangladesh has been taken to a new level under the BRI.

While Asia has become the main driver of global economic growth, Bangladesh has also been actively developing its economy, introducing a number of initiatives and incentives to attract foreign investors. "This has made Bangladesh a manufacturing powerhouse in South Asia," Lo said.

Syed M. Mohiuddin Mohi, president of the Bangladesh Association of Hong Kong, said Bangladesh is well on a solid path to its goals of sustainable development.

Industrial development

Calvin Ngan, managing director of Golden Crown Enterprises International which has been operating in Bangladesh for decades, said Bangladeshi workers are diligent and work well. He said Bangladesh's overall cheaper labor costs stimulate its industrial development.

Bangladesh's strength has made its textile and other labor-intensive sectors competitive on international markets, said Dewan Saiful Alam Masud, president of the Bangladesh Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce Hong Kong.

Patrick Lau, deputy executive director of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, said key exhibitions and conferences — both online and offline — that the organization hosts every year can help Bangladesh find business partners and investors.

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