June 28, 2014
JICA Bangladesh Office and Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (BEZA) in association with JETRO organized a seminar on "Economic Zone Development for Japanese Investors" on June 28, 2014 at Six Seasons Hotel in Dhaka to sensitize Japanese investors about the recent developments in Economic Zone (EZ) scenario, rules and regulation as well as incentives for investment with a view to promote and improve foreign direct investment (FDI) in Bangladesh. The Principal Secretary of the Prime Minister's Office, Mr. Abdus Sobhan Sikder graced the seminar as Chief Guest and Executive Chairman of BEZA, Mr. Fakhrul Islam was the Special Guest.
After China, ASEAN countries like Vietnam, Indonesia and others have been successful in attracting Japanese enterprises to do business there. Although Bangladesh is regarded as one of the next 11 destinations after the ASEAN countries, Bangladesh has not been able to attract much foreign investments, especially from Japanese investors. At present, there are approximately 180 Japanese enterprises engaged in business in Bangladesh, and the number could increase significantly if Japanese companies can take the benefit of low production cost compared to other countries of the world. However, there are other impediments such as operational costs, regulatory measures and financial issues and so forth. It is now imperative to showcase and promote to the Japanese investors the incentives BEZA can offer to attract more FDI from Japan. The seminar was organized to link potential investors and policy makers and to create a bridge over demand and supply gaps of FDI.
In the seminar, two presentations were given to the audience; namely the introduction of potential sites for EZ development for Japanese investors and recent activities of BEZA regarding the development of 5 potential sites throughout the country and rules and regulations on the zone development. Principal Secretary, PMO reiterated Government's commitment towards improving investment climate and the strong ties between Japan and Bangladesh following recent visit of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to Japan. Mr. Fahkrul Islam, Executive Chairman of BEZA told the audience that BEZA would make their best efforts to attract FDI, especially from Japan through the development of EZs.
Mr. Mikio Hataeda, Chief Representative, JICA Bangladesh Office and Mr. Kei Kawano, Representative of JETRO Dhaka addressed the participants in the seminar. Mr. Hataeda mentioned that development of EZs would certainly attract more Japanese investment, thereby contributing to technological upgrade in various industries of Bangladesh as well as economic development of the country herself. He also mentioned the future initiative of the "Bay of Bengal Industrial Growth Belt", or BIG-B, as a means to guide Japan- Bangladesh partnership activities. BIG-B is a grand design to promote industrial agglomeration and take full advantage of the vibrant economic growth from Pacific to Indian Ocean. He believes that economic zones for Japanese investors will be a primary trigger for the prospective industrial agglomeration and international trade under the initiative of BIG-B.
In addition, representatives from Japan Commerce & Industry Association in Dhaka (JCIAD) and Japan Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JBCCI) joined the seminar and discussed the investment climate issues in Bangladesh.
The importance of bilateral cooperation between Japan and Bangladesh is now more than ever favorable after the recent visit of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to Japan in May. The economic ties between both countries could be strengthened if Japanese investors are interested in establishing factories and offices in the newly developed Economic Zones.