H E Sheikh Hasina, Hon’ble Prime Minister of Bangladesh, today urged
Indian industry to bring businesses and investments to Bangladesh. She was
speaking at an interactive session organized by the Confederation of
Indian Industry (CII) in collaboration with the Ministry of External Affairs,
Government of India, the Associated Chambers of Commerce & Industry of India
(ASSOCHAM) and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry
(FICCI) during her tour of India.
The Prime Minister enumerated Bangladesh's advantages for Indian
industry as steady economic growth, high demographic dividend, competitive
cost structure and a large consumer base. The Prime Minister mentioned that
Bangladesh is offering attractive incentives to incentivize Indian investment
such as 100% repatriation of profit and invested capital.
The Prime Minister added that an Indo-Bangla Investment Agreement is in
place to protect bilateral investment. Bangladesh enjoys Generalised System of
Preferences (GSP) benefits from 38 countries and duty-free, quota-free access
into countries such as China, South Korea, Thailand, Malaysia and Chile. Indian
companies investing in Bangladesh could gain from these benefits.
The Prime Minister pointed out that Bangladesh is making significant
socio-economic progress and is well on its way to becoming a middle-income
country by 2021. Its GDP growth in 2016 was 7.1% and the country is targeting
to reach 8% growth by 2020.
Mr Dharmendra Pradhan, Hon’ble Minister for Petroleum & Natural Gas,
Government of India stated that one of the key pillars of cooperation between
India and Bangladesh was the energy sector. He highlighted initiatives
such as a pipeline between the two countries to supply High Speed Diesel,
the setting up of an LPG plant in Bangladesh to supply LPG to India,
and setting up of LPG import terminals, among others.
Mr Abdul Matlub Ahmad, President, Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of
Commerce and Industry, stated that Indian industry should look at Bangladesh as
a base to export finished products back to India. This, in his view would go a
long way in boosting bilateral trade beyond the USD 1 billion level. He
highlighted the need to remove restrictions on the port of entry and exit
placed by India on Bangladeshi nationals to boost bilateral B2B linkages.
Mr Sandeep Jajodia, President, ASSOCHAM and Chairman & Managing
Director, Monnet Ispat & Energy Ltd, highlighted the need to boost trade
engagement through betterment of physical infrastructure on both sides. He also
noted the need to explore newer areas of cooperation between the two countries
especially in Infrastructure Development, Ports development, Power and Energy,
Textiles, Healthcare, Transportation sectors.
Mr Adi Godrej, Past President, CII & Chairman, Godrej Group,
stated that India and Bangladesh could cooperate in the Bay of Bengal under the
“Blue Economy” programme for harnessing the immense potential of hydrocarbons,
marine resources and disaster management. He added that connectivity
could be a game changer with other countries in South Asia. The recent Motor
Vehicles Agreement (MVA) between Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN) for
the Regulation of Passenger, Personal and Cargo Vehicular Traffic has the
potential to increase intra-regional trade and investment manifold.
Mr Harsh Mariwala, Past President, FICCI & Chairman, Marico
Ltd. highlighted areas of cooperation such as collaboration in knowledge
sharing to facilitate innovation and research, skill development, regional
connectivity, power trade, media and entertainment and tourism among others.
In the presence of HE the Prime Minister, 13 MoUs were
signed between Indian and Bangladeshi industry.