Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday urged the Chinese entrepreneurs to relocate their factories to Bangladesh to avail themselves of competitive and affordable wages of Bangladesh’s young and energetic workforce.
“Since the costs of production of certain products in China are increasing, the factories producing those items can be relocated to Bangladesh where the costs are a lot cheaper, particularly due to the very competitive and affordable wages of Bangladesh’s young and energetic workforce,” she said.
Hasina was delivering her keynote speech at ‘Bangladesh Marching Ahead: Bangladesh-China Economic and Trade Cooperation Forum’ hosted by China Council for the Promotion of International Trade at Presidential Beijing Hotel. Distinguished industry and business leaders from China and Bangladesh were present.
Chairman of China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCIPT) Jiang Zengwei presided over the function which was attended by leading Chinese business leaders, chiefs of corporate bodies,manufacturing and trading companies, investment groups, construction, power generating and engineering companies.
Expressing her firm belief that Chinese investment in Bangladesh will be profitable and worthwhile, particularly in Bangladesh’s manufacturing and service sectors, the Prime Minister urged all the leaders of business and industry of China to visit Bangladesh to explore the possibilities of increasing trade and investment.
“I welcome you all to be our partners in our business activities and share together the gains and benefits, profits and prosperity as we journey forth as friends and partners to the future,” she added.
Hasina said Bangladesh is a lucrative destination for foreign investment as its FDI policies offer the friendliest fiscal and financial incentives that include equal treatment of local and foreign investors, legal protection against nationalisation and expropriation, guarantee for expatriation of capital and dividend, corporate tax holidays from 5 to 7 years, concessionary duty on the import of machinery, export incentives, allowing 100 percent foreign equity, and unrestricted exit policy.
“Moreover, Chinese investment is fully protected under the existing ‘Bilateral Investment Protection Treaty’ and a ‘Bilateral Tax Convention’. Another added attraction is that as an LDC Bangladesh is enjoying duty-free and quota-free market access to the EU and almost all developed countries,” Hasina told her audience.
She said Chinese investors may also participate in joint ventures with Bangladeshi entrepreneurs in sectors not yet tapped such as pharmaceuticals, ceramics, tourism, education, healthcare, road and rail communications, petrochemicals, agro-based industries, amongst others.
In recent times, Hasina said, China’s support for Bangladesh has been gaining momentum as the country had recently sought China’s assistance for some of its key areas of development during the period 2014-18, including the construction of power plants, a river tunnel.
She said a very positive development is a contract awarded by Bangladesh to the China Major Bridge Engineering Company to build the core structure of the 6.15 km bridge over the Padma River. “We have also involved Chinese companies to construct a 1,320MW coal fired power plant in Southern Bangladesh.”
About trade, she said Bangladesh provides a market of 160 million people, 60 percent of whom are below the age of forty years. This young population is enterprising, talented and smart and can adapt to newer trades and technologies. They have been the driving force behind the huge growth of cellular telephones and ICT products.
The Premier said that Bangladesh is also uniquely placed between the markets of South and South East Asia and China, and is becoming a regional economic hub.
“Bangladesh’s involvement in numerous regional trading frameworks and development of multi-modal connectivity with the neighbors will soon make it a center of bustling economic activity in the region,” she added.
The Prime Minister went on saying, “We are looking forward to the quicker progress of the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Economic Corridor. We are also increasing our power capacity to ensure that foreign investments thrive and prosper. At present, our current power need of 7,000 MW is met, though our production capacity exceeds 11,000 MW.”
The premier said two-hour flight from Kunming to Dhaka should allow the Chinese businesses the opportunity to see for themselves the potentials for business awaiting them in Bangladesh.
ERD Secretary of Bangladesh Md Mejbahuddin, Bangladesh Ambassador in Beijing Muhammad Azizul Haque, President of Federation of Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry Kazi Akram Uddin Ahmed, President of Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) Atiqul Islam, General Manager of Sany Heavy Industry Co. Ltd. Cui Yongqian and General Manager of Ningbo Four Seasons Import and Export Company Ltd Bao Huihong, among others, spoke on the occasion.