Hasina seeks more Japanese investment to build Bangladesh

‘Bilateral engagements should be based on mutual trust’

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Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday sought more Japanese investment to build Bangladesh as a middle-income country by 2021.
“We have set a target of building Bangladesh as a middle income country by 2021. So we need more support and assistance from Japan to achieve this goal,” she said.
The prime minister said this when a four-member delegation attending the Joint Bangladesh-Japan Public-Private Economic Dialogue here paid a courtesy call on her at her office this morning.
Japanese Vice Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Norihiko Ishiguro led the team.
After the meeting, PM’s Press Secretary AKM Shameem Chowdhury briefed reporters.
He said the Prime Minister and the Japanese vice minister discussed issues relating to mutual interests including promotion of trade and investment between the two countries.
Sheikh Hasina said a congenial investment-friendly environment now exists in Bangladesh. “So the Japanese entrepreneurs could explore this opportunities by investing in a bigger way in Bangladesh,” she said.
In this connection, the prime minister said her government has allocated land for the Japanese investors in export processing zones (EPZs).
Mentioning that Bangladesh and Japan are now enjoying excellent relations, Sheikh Hasina said Japan is a consistent friend and reliable development partner of Bangladesh since the establishment of diplomatic ties in the early days of our independence.
The prime minister recalled with gratitude the unwavering support and sympathy extended by the Japanese people during the War of Liberation.
“Japan was the first few countries which recognized Bangladesh after its independence,” she mentioned.
Sheikh Hasina also recollected the historic visit of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to Japan and said the tour has laid the foundation of bilateral ties between the two countries.
The prime minister remembered her official visit to Japan and holding of the summit talks with Japanese Premier Shinzo Abe.
Sheikh Hasina said the people of Bangladesh have been eagerly waiting to welcome Japanese Prime Minister, who is scheduled to visit Bangladesh next month.
The Japanese vice minister noted that Japanese investment in Bangladesh has increased 15 times in three years from 2009 to 2011.
He said the Japanese entrepreneurs may invest in the sectors in Bangladesh that are affected by the climate change impacts.
Ishiguro said a high-level Japanese delegation comprising investors and businessmen would accompany the Japanese Prime Minister during his scheduled visit to Bangladesh next month.
“They will see the opportunity of making investment in a bigger way in Bangladesh,” he said.
He hoped that the Japanese entrepreneurs would show interest to invest in Bangladesh massively as Bangladesh is situated at a strategic location between South and Southeast Asia.
About the setting up the ultra supercritical coal-fired power plant at Matarbari in Cox’s Bazar with Japanese assistance, the vice minister mentioned that the technology that would be used in the power plant would be most modern and dependable.
PM’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs Dr Gowher Rizvi, Principal Secretary Abdus Sobhan Shikdar, PMO Secretary Md Abul Kalam Azad and Press Secretary AKM Shameem Chowdhury and Japanese Ambassador Shiro Shadoshima were present at the meeting.
Another report says: The first Bangladesh-Japan Public-Private Economic Dialogue was held in Dhaka on Friday, convened by the Government of Bangladesh. The members participating on both sides recalled that launching of the Dialogue was facilitated through adoption of the ‘Japan-Bangladesh Comprehensive Partnership’ during the visit of Bangladesh Prime Minister to Japan in May this year.
The discussions were held in an atmosphere of cordiality, friendship and cooperation. Both sides reflected on deepening economic and commercial cooperation and overall economic scenario prevailing in the respective countries during discussions. They concluded that engagements between the two countries should be based and advanced on the basis of mutual trust, respect and interest and equitable sharing of benefits.
During discussions, both sides had exchange of views on wide-ranging areas of mutual economic interest, including prevailing investment climate and regime, development of infrastructure and industrial base including development of Special Economic Zones, further improvement of regulatory and administrative arrangements to facilitate movement of investment, issues related to augmenting bilateral trade. The governments and private sector of the two countries noted a number of ways and areas to tap mutually beneficial opportunities for private investments in Bangladesh.
In that context, they recognized areas like textiles, leather, pharmaceuticals, IT and ITES, tourism and hospitality, health etc as possible sectors where both countries can enter into cooperative undertakings in the future.
They expressed optimism that the Dialogue could provide a window for interaction and actions between the governmental actors and private sector of the two countries on many areas that are not yet explored. They therefore maintained that the Dialogue could contribute to charting avenues for robust engagement between the two countries.
While welcoming the convening of the first Public-Private Economic Dialogue, the Japanese side stressed on the importance of developing the Special Economic Zones and adjoining infrastructures in Bangladesh to attract greater quantum of investments from Japan; and urged Bangladesh to address some of operational issues flagged by the Japanese investors, including simplification of various procedures related to certification, licensing approval process, issuance of visa, work permit etc.
They also discussed about various incentives with a view to improving overall investment climate and to enhance trade relations between the two countries.
During discussion, the leaders and representatives of business community of the two countries present at the Dialogue, also shared their respective perspectives.
Prior to the Dialogue, a delegation led by Norihiko Ishiguro, Vice-Minister for International Affairs, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of the Government of Japan paid courtesy calls on Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Commerce Minister Tofael Ahmed respectively.
The second Joint Bangladesh-Japan Public-Private Economic Dialogue will be convened by Japan next year.
The Japanese Delegation, consisting of 38 members, was led by Norihiko Ishiguro, whereas the Bangladeshi Delegation, comprising of 32 members, was led by Abul Kalam Azad, Senior Secretary of the Prime Minister’s Office, says a PID handout.

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