New Japan Desk in Ctg aims to
- Serve as an interface between Japanese companies wanting to enter into any kind of strategic tie-up with Chattogram-based businesses
- Provide guidance and information about business opportunities in Japan and Bangladesh available for Ctg-based businesses
- Initiate B2B matchmaking efforts between Japan and Bangladesh
- Improve Ctg-based efforts to showcase Bangladesh image's as an attractive and friendly investment destination and trading partner to Japan
More Japanese companies are expected to invest in Bangladesh as Japan is keen on promoting business and economic relations, considering the already improving exports from the South Asian country and the recovering Bangladeshi economy.
Japanese ambassador to Bangladesh Ito Naoki made the observations during the inauguration of a Japan desk in Chattogram, which is expected to lead to exploring opportunities for mutual cooperation in terms of trade and investment for Japanese investors in Chattogram.
Delivering his speech as chief guest at the opening ceremony of Japan Desk at the World Trade Centre Chattogram of Chattogram Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) on Tuesday, Naoki said, "The establishment of the Japan desk is timely. Chattogram is the major centre of cooperation between Japan and Bangladesh, [and with this desk] cooperation will be enhanced."
"If you look at the export figure of Bangladesh to Japan between July and October, it increased by 13.4% compared to the same period last year. So, now you are really increasing your exports to Japan. I really hope that Japan will be the largest importer from Bangladesh in Asia."
He also said that after Covid-19, the Bangladesh economy was "clearly bouncing back."
CCCI President Mahbubul Alam said, "Japan has been playing an important role as one of the major partners in the socio-economic development of Bangladesh since independence. JETRO and JBCCI signed a memorandum of understanding to further increase Japanese investment in the country, which led to the establishment of the desk."
"To mark the 50th anniversary of Japan-Bangladesh friendship an event named Bay of Bengal Growth Summit will be organised next year in collaboration with the Japan embassy in Chattogram," Mahbubul Alam added.
CCCI Senior Vice President and Managing Director of Saif Powertech Tarafder Md Ruhul Amin said, "Japan has made substantial investments in Bangladesh's communications, logistics, and infrastructure sectors, including a port expansion in Chattogram. Potential Japanese investors in Bangladesh might benefit in the future from this desk by gathering relevant information, which would play a pivotal role in bilateral relations."
The Japan desk was set up in collaboration with the CCCI, Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) and Japan Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce (JBCCI) to bring Japanese private sector and Bangladeshi, especially Chattogram-based, private sector, closer to each other to explore opportunities for mutual cooperation in the form of trade and investment.
The setup aims to serve both current and potential Japanese investors and work as a complementary interface of JETRO's effort in Bangladesh, particularly in Chattogram.
At the event, CCCI Vice President Syed Mohammed Tanvir said the desk was set up with five objectives: "To serve as an interface between Japanese companies wanting to enter into any kind of strategic tie-up with Chattogram-based businesses, the Government of Bangladesh and the Japanese organisation; to provide guidance and information about business opportunities in Japan and Bangladesh available for Chattogram-based businesses; to keep active links with the Government of Bangladesh, CCI and JETRO office in Bangladesh, as well as other Japanese organisations in Bangladesh and Japan; to initiate B2B matchmaking efforts to increase international trade and encourage joint ventures between Japan and Bangladesh, especially in Chattogram; and to improve Chattogram-based efforts to showcase Bangladesh image's as an attractive and friendly investment destination and trading partner to Japan through providing prioritised facilitations to Japanese companies operating in Chattogram..."
Yuji Ando, the JETRO country representative, said "The desk will be a great hub and starting point to increase Japanese business in Chattogram."
Asif A Chowdhury, president of JBCCI, said, "The services from the desk will be a pillar of Japanese investors in Chattogram and will reduce misconception about investment in Bangladesh."
CCCI President Mahbubul Alam, JBCCI advisor Salauddin Kasem Khan, CCCI senior vice president and Managing Director of Saif Powertech Ltd Tarafder Md Ruhul Amin, Chief Representative of the Bangladesh Office of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Yuho Hayakawa, and President of Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry Hikari Kawai, among others, spoke on the occasion.
CCCI directors Anjan Shekar Ray, Nazmul Karim Chowdhury Sharun, AKM Akter Hossain, Jahirul Islam Chowdhury, Eng Iftekhar Hossain, SM Tahsin Jonayed and Tanvir Mustafa Chowdhury were present among others.
Japan urges to develop business environment in Bangladesh
During the program, Ambassador of Japan to Bangladesh Ito Naoki urged Bangladesh to create an investment- and business-friendly environment so that more Japanese companies can invest here in the future.
Referring to a message which HONDA Taro, Parliamentary vice minister foreign affairs of Japan, sent to the inaugural session of the investment summit held in Dhaka last week, Naoki said that existing Japanese companies in Bangladesh are facing some investment related challenges in Bangladesh.
He said the challenges are: "delays in customs clearance, various taxations, restrictions on telegraphic transfer of import payments, discrimination of export incentives between domestic and foreign companies, and the need to improve the environment in EPZs and SEZs (Special Economic Zones)."
Though the programme was a celebration, he said he would not hesitate to raise those issues, as they are of neutral interest and concern for both Japanese and Bangladeshi businessmen.
"I hope that the new Japan desk at the CCCI will cooperate with the government, the embassy, JICA, as well as Japanese companies, and play a productive role in addressing these issues and challenges," he added.
"Around 20 Japanese companies are operating in Chattogram in light engineering and other sectors mainly located in the export processing zones (EPZs) of Chattogram. The success of the existing companies will lead the way for prospective and following investors to Bangladesh," he said.