Industry representatives in Bangladesh strongly believe that specific commitments related to the Integrated Economic Partnership Agreement or ‘Sepa’ will be a major enabler of bilateral trade growth. They think that through this visit of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the ‘mental barriers’ of Indian investors regarding investment in Bangladesh have largely been removed. The interest of Indians about Bangladesh is gradually increasing.
In order to increase investment, the Shilpamahal of Bangladesh is organizing a large-scale exhibition in Delhi and Mumbai next December. His official name is ‘Best of Bangladesh’.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit is proof of how important Bangladesh is to trade growth. He himself participated in the event held by Chamber of Commerce of India CII. The country’s commerce minister Tipu Munshi and heads of various chambers of commerce participated in the event organized by ‘FIKI’. A call everywhere, investment in Bangladesh is profitable. So Indian investors take heart. In the words of Salman F Rahman, Advisor to the Prime Minister on Industrial Affairs, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is setting policies with the aim of making Indian investors look at Bangladesh for the sake of the market. Bangladesh is the new address of commercial potential in South Asia.
Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry or ‘FICI’ has been the Indian partner of FBCCI for so long to enhance trade relations. FBCCI has renewed alliance with CII.
President of the organization. Jasim Uddin told Prothom Alo, “Apart from reaching agreement with CII, we are also tying up with Chamber of Commerce Assocham.” We want Indian investors to remove any mental block if they have any doubts about Bangladesh. For this reason, “Best of Bangladesh” trade fair is being organized in Delhi and Mumbai next December. A three-day business summit will be held in Bangladesh on the occasion of FBCCI’s 50th anniversary in March. Indian industrialists will get a glimpse of how wide the investment horizon is in Bangladesh.
Jasim Uddin also said, “Our objective is to reduce the trade deficit and move forward quickly to balance.”
Arun Chawla, director general of FIKI, however, did not admit any mental barriers to investing in Bangladesh. He thinks that the opportunity of investment in Bangladesh has increased manifold in recent times. Indians are feeling so encouraged. The more progress is made with ‘Sepa’, the lower the barriers to investment; Investment opportunities will increase.
Manoj Chugh, another director of FIKI, said that the importance of Bangladesh to Indians has increased incredibly in recent times. Political and social stability and the government’s trade-oriented approach are among the main reasons for this growing importance.
An official of India’s Ministry of Commerce, who participated in the bilateral talks, said that ‘SAFTA’ could not be very effective due to various reasons. It is unfortunate. But ‘Sepa’ will make up the shortfall and expand the trade. It is important for both parties to implement the service very quickly. He also said that the way the communication system is improving, the eastern and northeastern regions of India and Bangladesh will become the main trading centers of this subcontinent. The top leadership of the two countries is therefore interested in implementing this agreement quickly.
Apart from trade in goods and services, Sepa also aims to increase investment. The implementation of the three areas means to reduce the trade deficit of Bangladesh. With this explanation, the official of the Ministry of Commerce said that the increase in India’s trade and the improvement of the industrial situation means that Bangladesh will also move forward. In this regard, the prime ministers of both countries are equally zealous. The better the relationship, the faster the favorable environment for trade growth.
Jasim Uddin said, 100 special economic zones and 28 hi-tech parks have been created in Bangladesh. Two specialized economic centers are being developed at Mongla and Mirsrai for Indian investors. There is a plan to invite Indian industrialists interested in investing there. Junaid Ahmed, Minister of State for Information Technology of Bangladesh, feels that Bangladesh’s progress in the IT industry will quickly become attractive to Indians. Meanwhile, the government and the Chamber of Commerce are very careful in attracting investment.