Identify new export items
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday asked private entrepreneurs to identify new market demands and trends across the world to diversify the country's export items.
"We have to find out through market research what new items we can produce to boost up our export… We need to focus on that."
Hasina said this while inaugurating the Bangladesh Trade and Investment Summit 2021 at the Bangabandhu International Conference Center. She joined the programme virtually from the Gonobhaban.
The commerce ministry and Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) jointly arranged the week-long summit to mark the Mujib Year and the golden jubilee of the country's Independence, aiming to connect traders and investors from around the world.
The PM said exporters have to identify which country looks for what kind of products, and the producers and manufacturers should think about producing those.
"I request business organisations, especially the private sector, to give due attention to this issue because I think we need to increase the number of items in our export basket."
She also mentioned that different countries have different demands. "Bangladesh is a country that can do [produce] anything, if we want… I have that confidence."
About Bangladesh's geographical position, the PM said domestic and foreign investors can export their items to South Asian and South-East Asian countries from here.
"They'll get opportunities to grab markets in these countries and export items."
Hasina mentioned that Bangladesh will become a bridge between the east and the west in the future. "This will help us flourish our trade and business further."
Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen, Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi, PM's Private Industries and Investment Affairs Adviser Salman Fazlur Rahman, Commerce Secretary Tapan Kanti Ghosh, President of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) Md Jasim Uddin and DCCI President Rizwan Rahman were present at the inauguration.
A video was screened at the event highlighting the country's development in trade, business and investment.
Some 552 companies from countries, including Bangladesh, of five continents will participate in 450 business-to-business (B2B) match-making sessions, which will help explore new business opportunities in Bangladesh and attract FDIs into the country.
Hasina urged entrepreneurs both at home and abroad to invest in Bangladesh, availing themselves of the advantages of an investment-friendly environment, big regional markets and strong connectivity.
She pointed out various facilities that are being created by the government by modernising road, river, rail and air connectivity. "The government has also strengthened trade diplomacy in the international arena."
Our staff correspondent adds: Prime Minister's Private Industry and Investment Affairs Salman F Rahman said Bangladesh's economy grew significantly during the Covid-19 pandemic -- at a time when many economies struggled to prevent recession.
Bangladesh has stable currency and steady exchange rate which are essential for any investor, he said.
Jashim Uddin, FBCCI president, said our business community is working closely with the government to address major concerns related to infrastructure development, energy, power, ICT, networks, and education.
"Now, Bangladesh offers one of the largest and best competitive fiscal and non-fiscal incentives, including profit repatriation, tax holiday, duty-free import of capital machineries, and 100 economic zones… We are ready with our regional hub and connectivity."
Tapan Kanti Ghosh, secretary to the commerce ministry, said Bangladesh has become a competitive investment and trade hub. The government is working relentlessly to ease doing business and improve competitiveness through regulatory reforms.
"So, it has a bright prospect to be a manufacturing hub whereby investors can invest and produce a wide range of products and they can easily take duty-free facilities throughout the world."
DCCI President Rizwan Rahman also talked at the event.