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Trade and Investment Opportunities in Bangladesh
Bangladesh offers lucrative investment climate compared to other South Asian economies. Key pointers to Bangladesh's investment climate are highlighted below:
- Bangladesh is a largely homogeneous society with no major internal or external tensions and a population with great resilience in the face of adversity (e.g. natural calamities).
- Bangladesh has liberal democracy. The population of this country irrespective of race or religion have been living in harmony and understanding for thousands of years.
- Broad non-partisan political support for market-oriented reform and the most investor-friendly regulatory regime in South Asia.
- Trainable, enthusiastic, hardworking and low-cost (even by regional standards) labor force suitable for any labour-intensive industry.
- The geographic location of the country is ideal for global trade, with very convenient access to international sea and air routes.
- Bangladesh is endowed with abundant supply of natural gas, water and its soil is very fertile.
- Although Bangla is the official language, English is generally used as a second language.
Bangladeshi products enjoy duty free and quota free access to almost all the developed countries. This access to the global market is further influenced by the fact that the policy regime of Bangladesh for foreign direct investment is by far the best in South Asia. Most Bangladeshi products enjoy complete duty and quota free access to EU, Canada, Australia and Norway. Though in limited scale, Bangladesh products already found their access with lower duty in the markets of Thailand, India and Pakistan. However, talks are underway with China, Russia, Malaysia and other neighbouring countries in this regard.
Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA)
Established under Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) Act 2016, the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) is the principal private investment promotion and facilitation agency of Bangladesh. The act has mandated BIDA for providing diversified promotional and facilitating services with a view to accelerating industrial development of the country. In addition, the government has also entrusted BIDA with some more functions in its service list. Combining all, BIDA’s functions can be categorized as follows:
- Pre-investment information and counselling service
- Investor welcome service (faster immigration)
- Registration/approval of foreign, joint-venture and local projects
- Registration/approval of branch/liaison/representative offices
- Approving work permit for the foreign nationals
- Facilitating utility connections (electricity, gas, water & sewerage, telecom etc.)
- Assistance in obtaining industrial plots
- Approving remittance of royalty, technical know-how and technical assistance fees
- Facilitating import of capital machinery & raw materials
- Approving foreign loan suppliers’ credit, PAYE scheme etc.
Please visit BIDA website http://bida.gov.bd for further information.
Bangladesh Hi-Tech Park Authority
Bangladesh Hi-Tech Park Authority has been established under the 'Bangladesh Hi-Tech Park Authority Act-2010' with the objective of creating an investment-friendly environment and creating employment through the development and growth of high-tech industries in the country. Since its inception, the Bangladesh Hi-Tech Park Authority has been working for socio-economic development by establishing Hi-Tech Parks / Software Technology Parks / IT Training and Incubation Centers in different parts of the country to ensure employment of the country's large number of youth and to create skilled human resources. Bangladesh Hi-Tech Park Authority has set up 28 (eighty) Hi-Tech Parks (HTP) / Software Technology Parks (STP) / IT Training and Incubation Centers across the country. The construction work of 4 (four) parks has already been completed and business activities are going on. Construction work of the remaining parks is underway.
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Shilpa Nagar (BSMSN)
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Shilpa Nagar, one of the largest industrial areas in the country is being developed by BEZA (Bangladesh Economic Zones Authorities) on a contiguous land of 30,000 acres of Mrisarai, Sitakundu and Sonagazi- the adjoining upazilas of Chittagong and Feni with the target of making it a leading regional business hub.
BSMSN is one of the most suitable sites of Bangladesh for setting up industrial establishments. It is the first planned city of the country, expects to pave the way for establishing a truly world-class business and industrial centre. It is situated along the strategic location of Dhaka-Chittagong industrial corridor on the mouth of Feni river, covering 25 KMs of coast lines of Sandeep channel of the Bay of Bengal. BSMSN can utilise the Chittagong Sea Port that facilitates 95% export and import of the country. Moreover, the business costs and cost of living are significantly lower in Chittagong and Feni than those of the other competing cities of the world. With all its potentialities, BSMSN is an attractive destination for setting up huge number of industries, commercial establishments, and financial institutions.
BEZA seeks to build strong partnership with the private sector and local entrepreneurs for BSMSN. BEZA is in the process of developing a comprehensive master plan for developing this self-contained Industrial City including, incorporating Sea Port, Rail Connectivity, Marine Drive, Residential Area, Tourism Park, Power Plant, Hospital, School and University etc. BEZA is committed to assist, encourage, and facilitate investment in BSMSN.
Please visit BSMSN website https://www.beza.gov.bd/economic-zones-site/government-owned-sites/mirsorai-chittagong/ for further information.
Special Economic Zones for attracting FDI
Bangladesh has taken initiatives to establish 100 Special Economic Zones (SEZs) by 2030, (70 Government Approved Economic Zones and 30 Private Economic Zones). With investors already having started production in some of the zones, FDI has witnessed a significant boost. Bangladesh has already awarded pre-qualification licenses to 20 private economic zones and of them, 11 have been given final license.
G2G Economic Zones are being established upon initiative by the governments of a foreign country and the Government of Bangladesh. Several requests have been received from various Asian countries like Japan, China and India to develop G2G EZs. Till now India has signed an MoU to invest in 2 EZs (One in Kustia and another in Mongla). Chinese Economic and Industrial Zone is being constructed in Anwara of Chattagrom and Japanese Economic Zone is being built near Dhaka City in Arihajar Upazila of Naryanganj District.
Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority singed a Joint Venture Agreement with Sumitomo Corporation of Japan for developing Japanese Economic Zone in May 2019 which was expected to attract 20-billion-dollar worth foreign investment, most of which would be from Japan. Renowned companies, such as Honda Motors, Sumitomo Nippon, Asian Paint, Barger Paint, Adani Group, Wilmar, Yabang, Siam Group, TIC Group, Unilever, Sakata Inch and Chain Harbour are the major foreign investors in the special economic zone in Bangladesh.
Japanese automobile giant Honda started manufacturing at Abdul Monem Economic Zone (AMEZ) in Munshiganj. The company set up a plant on 25 acres of land and invested USD 27.38 million. Similarly, Jinyuan Chemical Industry Limited, a sister concern of the Chinese ZhuzhouJinyuan Chemical Industry Limited, set up their factory in the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Shilpa Nagar (BSMSN).
Please visit Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority website www.beza.gov.bd for further information.
Export Processing Zones (EPZs)
Export Processing Zones (EPZs) are export oriented industrial enclaves in Bangladesh that provide infrastructures, facilities, administrative and support services for various enterprises. The primary objective of an EPZ is to provide special areas where potential investors would find a congenial investment climate, and location free from cumbersome procedures. Businesses from 32 countries have so far invested in the existing zones. Industrial set ups in EPZs are receiving incentives like tax holidays, duty free import of construction materials, machineries, office equipment & spare parts, raw materials and finished goods, Relief from double taxation, 100% foreign ownership permissible, full repatriation of capital and dividend and many more.
Bangladesh’s phenomenally successful EPZs in Dhaka and Chittagong are now complemented by new EPZ developments and other valuable real estate developments around the country. The Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority (BEPZA) is the official organ of the government to promote, attract and facilitate foreign investment in the Export Processing Zones
Potential investment sectors in Bangladesh as emphasized by the government are agribusiness, ceramics, electronics, foreign foods, garment and textiles, ICT and business services, leather and leathers goods, light engineering, power industry, life science.
Please visit BEPZA website www.bepza.gov.bd for further information.