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PM invites US business leaders to invest in Bangladesh

UNB . Dhaka
27 May 2024 13:03:55 | Update: 27 May 2024 22:39:52
PM invites US business leaders to invest in Bangladesh

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday extended an invitation to US business leaders to explore business opportunities in Bangladesh and partner with the country in its journey towards becoming a developed, prosperous, and smart nation by 2041.

“I invite you to invest in our many vibrant and high-potential sectors, such as renewable energy, shipbuilding, automobiles, pharmaceuticals, light and heavy machinery, chemical fertilizers, ICT, marine resources, and medical equipment, among others,” she said.

The prime minister said this during her opening speech at a meeting with the US-Bangladesh Business Council at her official residence, Ganabhaban.

She expressed optimism that economic engagement through the US-Bangladesh Business Council would deepen in the coming days. “The United States will become our long-term partner in achieving our development goals through trade, investment, technology transfer, and by creating a smooth and predictable supply chain for mutual benefits,” she added.

While briefing reporters after the meeting, PM’s speechwriter M Nazrul Islam said that Sheikh Hasina informed members of US-Bangladesh Business Council that with her personal initiative after forming the government in 1996, US investment in Bangladesh increased manifold.

Nazrul Islam said that the US investors expressed high expectations regarding their investments in Bangladesh.

“But they pointed out some challenges which needed to be addressed for more investments in Bangladesh,” he said.

US-Bangladesh Business Council Chairman Steven Kobos delivered the welcome speech while the Council President Ambassador (retd) Atul Keshap gave the vote of thanks.

Sheikh Hasina hoped that the US-Bangladesh Business Council would continue to play a significant role in advancing trade and investment cooperation between the two friendly countries.

“Our focus is now on promoting economic and commercial relations with not only regional but also global partners, including the United States,” she said.

Highlighting the government’s accomplishments over the last 15 years, she mentioned several mega-infrastructure projects such as the Padma Bridge, metro rail in Dhaka, the Karnaphuli River tunnel, expressway, a modern international airport in Dhaka, and power plants.

“Legal and financial infrastructures are also being enhanced. These have heightened our domestic and regional connectivity,” she noted.

Additionally, the Prime Minister mentioned the establishment of 100 special economic zones (SEZs) and 28 hi-tech parks, some of which are already operational. “Particularly in the IT sector, with over a million freelancing IT professionals, Bangladesh is the right destination for IT investments. Moreover, the availability of a young, skilled, and vibrant workforce at a competitive wage is a huge advantage.”

She emphasized that Bangladesh has the most liberal investment policy in the region and is prioritizing improvements to the investment environment.

Sheikh Hasina also highlighted Bangladesh’s upcoming transition from a "least developed" to a "developing" country in 2026. “We aspire to become a ‘Smart Nation’ by 2041. Here, we need your support in increasing our global competitiveness and expanding our export base.”

She noted that Bangladesh is globally acknowledged as a “role model of socio-economic development,” attributing this to good governance, rule of law, stability, investment in the rural economy, empowerment of women, and ICT advancements that led to Digital Bangladesh.

The Prime Minister acknowledged the United States as a major economic and development partner for decades, with intensive engagements in many areas, particularly trade and investment.

“Our shared aim is to achieve mutual benefit and prosperity for our people. This is manifested in our growing bilateral trade and people-to-people interaction,” she said.

She added that the United States is currently the largest single-country destination for Bangladeshi exports, the largest source of foreign direct investment, and an important source of knowledge and technology.

PM’s Adviser Salman Fazlur Rahman, State Minister for Commerce Ahasanul Islam Titu and Ambassador at Large M Ziauddin were present at the meeting.