Bangladesh-Hong Kong trade opportunities still untapped: speakers at DCCI-HKTDC seminar

Dhaka Chamber of Commerce & Industry (DCCI) and Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) jointly organized a seminar on “Exploring business and investment opportunities for Bangladesh via Hong Kong” on 12 September 2022 at Lakeshore Hotel Dhaka. Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi, MP was present as the chief guest while Sharifa Khan, Secretary, Economic Relations Division, Ministry of Finance was present as special guest. DCCI President Rizwan Rahman chaired the seminar. The seminar was arranged with a view to discuss the likely issues on investment and trade potentials for Bangladesh and major economies through Hong Kong channel for deeper global economic fraternity.

Rizwan Rahman, President, Dhaka Chamber in his opening remarks said Hong Kong, a market‑oriented free economy, is predominantly an ideal and important centre for international finance and trade for the Asia-Pacific region and mainland which enable businesses to tap massive opportunities. Hong Kong, the global business hub, has been the gateway between businesses in China and the outside world and the Asia’s trade-fair and convention hub attracting many international businesses through various timely exhibitions, events and other trade-related events. Hong Kong has become one of the trusted top 10 foreign investors in Bangladesh with $1.8 billion investment mainly till date in textile and energy sector and trade reached over $1 billion earlier. Taking the investment success instance and economic tie of Bangladesh and Hong Kong into account, Bangladeshi and foreign investors can explore mutual investment and trade opportunities in promising industries via Hong Kong in different parts of the world including China vice versa in the changing economic context.

Tipu Munshi, MP, Minister for Commerce, Bangladesh said Bangladesh is going to be graduated from LDC status and for that we need foreign investment specially in the infrastructure, financial, service and manufacturing sector. He said that Bangladesh has a good demographic dividend, skilled workforce and congenial investment environment. “Try Bangladesh for investment”, later he added. Not only the reforms government has made but it is a continuous process. If any reforms are needed to expedite trade and business, government will do it immediately. He also said that Hong Kong is a trusted partner for Bangladesh. He hoped that in future more Hong Kong companies will come here in Bangladesh.

Sharifa Khan, Secretary, Economic Relations Division, Ministry of Finance said that the existing trade gap between Bangladesh and Hong Kong is also a great opportunity for future business. She said Hong Kong is good in financial sector. Later she invited them to operate in Bangladesh as our market is a big one in this region. She also said that if more Hong Kong companies come in Bangladesh it will help us for technology transfer. We are developing port and logistic sector. She said Hong Kong companies may come to invest as PPP basis as well.

Rajesh Bhagat, Consultant South Asia, Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) presented the keynote paper. He highlighted that Hong Kong has a very simple tax and customs procedures. There are not sales tax and no custom tariff. He said that about 66% of mainland’s outward FDI goes to or via Hong Kong. In 2020 total trade between Bangladesh and Hong Kong was $1.41 billion where Bangladesh’s import was $1.28 billion and export was $126.7 million. He also said that Bangladesh is giving good incentive packages to the foreign investors and various reforms by the government will be helpful for foreign investors.

Additional Secretary of Ministry of Industries Janendra Nath Sarker and Additional Secretary of BEZA Mohammad Erfan Sharif also discussed as designated discussants. DCCI Senior Vice President made the concluding remarks.

Published on: 2022-09-13

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