Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday called for taking business and investment relationship between Bangladesh and Japan to the next higher level valuing 50 years bilateral relations of the countries.
“I am confident that our last fifty years of enviable cooperation with Japan will remain an inspiration for the coming fifty years and beyond. Let us take our business and investment relations to the next higher level,” she said, reports BSS.
The Prime Minister made the remarks in a meet and greet programme with the selected Japanese Business Leaders (CEOs) at Sakura, The Westin in Tokyo this morning.
“Seeing the exemplary outcome of our two countries’ bilateral relations in the last five decades, our expectation is for a larger footprint of Japan in Bangladesh in the coming years,” she said.
The Premier said she greatly values the opinion of businessmen from Japan and has noted their suggestions.
“Our Embassy here in Tokyo is ready to cooperate and facilitate your ventures in Bangladesh. Please come to Bangladesh to explore the potentials of business and investment opportunities waiting for you,” she said.
The Premier said they have already resolved a number of regulatory and policy issues raised by Japanese companies in Bangladesh (to attract more Japanese investments).
She went on saying she, herself, took initiative to form the Bangladesh-Japan Joint Public-Private Economic Dialogue (PPED), and she is happy that the 5th round of PPED took place on 11 April 2023 just before her arrival in Japan.
“We shall keep on improving the business environment and ensure a level playing field for you all to do businesses in Bangladesh,” she said.
She mentioned that they have one of the most liberal foreign investment regimes in South Asia.
“Bangladesh is fast emerging as a highly lucrative location for investment in terms of competitive cost, abundant human resources, sizable domestic consumer market with high purchasing power and growing middle class,” she said.
Moreover, Sheikh Hasina said that Bangladesh is striving to be the economic hub of the region by way of improving access to regional and international markets.
The Prime Minister said they are establishing Economic Zones, High-Tech /Software Technology Parks across the country.
“Bangladesh has been developing a planned infrastructure base to place itself as a hub of connectivity between South Asia and Southeast Asia. Today, I am happy to hear your frank and productive ideas. It will further expand and strengthen trade and economic relations between our two friendly countries,” she said.
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen, PM’s Private Industry and Investment Affairs Adviser Salman Fazlur Rahman, State Minister for Foreign Minister Md Shahriar Alam, State Minister Information Communication and Technology Zunaid Ahmed Palak, among others, were present.
Top business leaders from Bangladesh and Japan were also present.
Sheikh Hasina expressed her happiness after meeting with distinguished business leaders of Japan.
“It was almost four years ago in 2019 when I last met you in Tokyo. I am happy that since then so much has happened in our bilateral cooperation, investment, trade and commercial activities,” she said.
The Prime Minister said Bangladesh and Japan celebrated our 50th anniversary of the establishment of bilateral diplomatic relations last year, adding, “We are now looking forward to taking our relationship to a newer height in the next 50 years.”
Even under the duress of Covid-19 pandemic, she said the bilateral trade with Japan continued to grow significantly and crossed the USD 4 billion milestone for the first-time during Fiscal Year 2021-22.
“The number of Japanese companies operating in Bangladesh has gone up steadily in the last few years especially since 2014 when we entered into our ‘comprehensive partnership, and Japan’s commitment under the Big-B initiative,” she said.
The Premier said that the Japanese business people are also following this increasing trend in Bangladesh’s business, and would be positively inclined to either expanding Japan’s existing businesses, or opening new ones in Bangladesh.
“Through my interaction with you today, I want to assure you that my government and all relevant agencies are keen to help you and our other friends from Japan in business endeavors in Bangladesh,” she said.
At the meeting, Japanese top business leaders have came up with future plans regarding investment in Bangladesh.