Towards Bangladesh — a global investment hub

Strategic location, rich and abundant human resources, strong economic growth and open trade and investment policy is transforming Bangladesh into a global hub of investment.

Bangladesh is located between India and Myanmar. It is in the middle of South and East Asia and is the gateway to the SAARC & ASEAN countries. Standing on the vortex of the Bay of Bengal, Bangladesh is the only access to sea for the surrounding land-lock branding-Bangladeshareas such as seven north-eastern states of India, Kunming city of China and Chin & Rakhine states of Myanmar. The geographic location creates the biggest advantage for the country to attract investment.

Bangladesh is a country with abundant human resource. Median age of its population is 23.6 years. The labour cost of Bangladesh is three times lower, compared with the other same income-level countries.

The demographic dividend combined with low cost of living and high population density yields very low cost of production. The young population has made significant drives of business of garment industry. The expansion of garment sector builds a positive image of Bangladesh in the world. No other country is at present in a position to beat Bangladesh in terms of low labour and overhead cost.

The annual GDP growth of Bangladesh has been 6 percent on an average over the last decade. The average growth rate has been 5.62 percent from 1994 until 2013. Purchasing power of the middle class people increased which is helping to transform the economy. Bangladesh is a market of 160 million people. The country is a market of both low and high valued products.

Apparel is the most important industrial sector and represents 19.46% of GDP and more than 80% of total export earning. Export earning of the textile sector was 25 billion US$ in 2013-14 financial year. Mckinsey report forecasts that export growth of Bangladesh’s apparel sector in value terms would be 7-9 percent annually for next ten years.

Bangladesh is one of the most open countries to foreign equity ownership as measured by the Investing Across Sector Indicators. Bangladesh is a combination of competitive market, business-friendly environment and cost structure that can give best returns.

Bangladesh enjoys duty-free access of its products to many developed countries of the world. 28 countries of European Union, Australia, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein are giving GSP facilities for all products of Bangladesh except Arms & Ammunition. Japan, Turkey and Canada are also giving privileged access to almost all of Bangladeshi products. South Korea, Russia, China, India, and Belarus are also allowing a large number of Bangladeshi products to enter their market without duty.

Education has played a pivotal role in developing skills of the enterprising work force of Bangladesh. Its Literacy rate is 57.90% and Information and Technology related study starts from the primary level. 78,342 students are reading in the higher level in 107 technical universities. Every year two million people are joining the employment cycle for which private sector should have a positive role to play.

Bangladesh has adopted a very liberal industrial policy to attract foreign investment. 100 percent foreign private investment is allowed. Almost all industries are open for private investments. Registration process for industries is quick and simple. Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority (BEPZA) has been established to promote investment. The Government of Bangladesh is working very hard to develop five special economic zones to attract both foreign and local investment. The Bangladesh Economic Zones Act 2010 allows private sector to own, develop and manage economic zones and establish infrastructure and services for the companies.

Foreign private investment Act 1980 ensures legal protection to foreign investment in Bangladesh against nationalization and expropriation. It guarantees repatriation of capital and dividend and equitable treatment with local investors. It also ensures protection for intellectual property rights such as patents, designs, trademarks and copy rights. Many internationally reputed brand companies selected Bangladesh EPZs for their production base.

Bangladesh Government has adopted “Open Door Policy” in order to stimulate rapid economic growth through industrialization. The Board of Investment and Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authorities are providing lucrative incentives- both fiscal & non-fiscal- to attract FDI in Bangladesh. The worlds’ renowned brand companies which are sourcing from Bangladesh including among others Nike, Reebok, Lafuma, H&M (Sweden), GAP, Brouks, J.C., Penny, Wal-Mart, Kmart, Ospig (Germany), Mother Care (UK), Lee, Wrangler, Dockers, NBA, Tommy, Hilfiger, Adidas, Falcon (USA), Edie Bauyer, Eagle, Releigh (UK), Emmilee, Free Spiril (UK), Miles (Germany), American Eagle, Hi-Teach (UK), Phillip Maurice(UK), Wins More, Decathlon, Konika, Minolta, Nikon, Fuji, Olympus, Abu Garcia, Sony Ericsson, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Hino, Toyota.

Positive Economic trends, strategic location, available semi skilled and skilled labour forces, policy support and domestic market have made Bangladesh a destination for best return on investment. Bangladesh is successfully implementing PPP policy and Government is giving highest priority in infrastructure development especially power, energy, telecommunication and port development to attract both private and foreign investment.

-koreatimes


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