- Six countries showed interest for direct investment in six sectors
- 20 companies from 13 countries want to go for joint-venture investment
- Bangladesh's 26 products have been identified for imports to 14 countries
Foreign investors who participated in the weeklong trade and investment summit have expressed their interest in investing $1.16 billion in Bangladesh, said Rizwan Rahman, president of the Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI), on Monday.
A Chinese company alone wanted to invest $1 billion in the infrastructure sector, he told the media while highlighting the summit's outcome in the chamber's conference room.
Some 20 companies from 13 countries, such as Vietnam, China, Thailand, the United Kingdom, Japan, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Nigeria, Pakistan and Iran, want to invest in different sectors through joint ventures, while investors from six countries showed their interest for direct investment in infrastructure, pharmaceuticals, baby bottle, umbrella, agro and food processing, and IT sectors, according to him.
Nigeria wants to invest in pharmaceuticals, Thailand in baby bottles, Sri Lanka in umbrellas, and India in agro and food processing, Rizwan said.
Besides, Bangladesh's 26 products have been identified as potential items for exports to 14 countries. The country also has opportunities to import from 13 countries.
The commerce ministry and the DCCI jointly organised the seven-day trade and investment summit that ended on Monday.
Some 369 business-to-business meetings were held with organisations from 38 countries that took part at the virtual event.
The sectors that have foreign investment opportunities are power, energy, dairy products, ICT, digital land management, air conditioner and LED light, port and terminal development, infrastructure, renewable energy, payment gateway, readymade garment, leather, solar energy, fast moving consumer goods, jewellery, telecommunication, jute and jute made carpets.
The DCCI president said the recommendations received from the weeklong summit will be sent to the government's divisions concerned.
Commerce Secretary Tapan Kanti Ghosh at the media briefing said one of the main objectives of the summit was to let foreign investors know about Bangladesh's ongoing economic recovery from pandemic shocks.
The potential of post-pandemic trade and investment in Bangladesh was highlighted at the event.
"After graduating to a developing country in 2026, we have to face a tough competition because of non-availability of duty-free export facilities," he said.
There have been plenty of talks regarding free trade agreement (FTA) to counter post-LDC challenges, but the results are now virtually nil, he noted.
Stating that signing FTAs might result in a probable loss of revenue, the commerce secretary said, "Our average tariff is much higher than those with whom we are in negotiations into signing FTAs."
Bangladesh's average tariff is 14%-16%, while its competitor countries charge a 3%-6% tariff on average.
"We need to reduce tariff rates, but we cannot do that indiscriminately for the sake of local industry," Tapan said.
There is a tendency of tax evasion in the country because of high tariff rates, he said adding, "We can reduce such fraud by offering all sectors bond facilities and making bond management online."
The commerce secretary suggested signing FTAs with the countries where Bangladesh is currently enjoying duty-free facilities on a priority basis during the LDC transition period to keep exports normal.
Senior officials from the commerce ministry and DCCI leaders also attended the press conference.