Be our trade, investment partners
Published : 17 Jun 2017, 14:00
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday called upon Swedish business leaders and entrepreneurs to be Bangladesh's partners in investment, trade and innovative businesses for shared prosperity.
"Together we can bring a change in the lives of millions in both our countries," she said while taking part in the Bangladesh-Sweden Business and Investment Forum at Rosenbad Conference Centre of the Prime Minister's Office in Stockholm.
Hasina also invited the Swedish business leaders to visit Bangladesh to explore the immense opportunities for changing lives of millions in the two friendly states.
Meanwhile, Hasina left Stockholm for London yesterday en route to Dhaka, wrapping up her three-day bilateral official visit to Sweden.
After making a three-hour stopover in the British capital, the PM will depart for home and is expected to reach Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport today morning.
In her speech at the forum, Hasina mentioned that Bangladesh has the most liberal investment policy in South Asia where the cost of establishing business is relatively lower. "We enjoy 'duty-free, quota-free' access to the markets of the EU, Australia, Canada, India, Japan and New Zealand."
The PM said the Bangladesh-Sweden relationship was now deeper and stronger than ever before. "And this is the time to unlock the full potential of our relations."
Hasina mentioned that Bangladesh was establishing 100 "special economic zones" (SEZs) across the country and already allocated special economic zones exclusively to China, India and Japan on G2G basis.
Bangladesh is also developing a number of hi-tech parks, she said.
"Our knowledge industry, ICT and related sectors are also expanding rapidly. Shipbuilding is another fast-growing industry in Bangladesh, by making world-class light to medium sized ocean-going vessels," she said.
The PM said Bangladesh made a significant progress in the areas of poverty alleviation, attaining food security, improving health and sanitation, women empowerment and expanding social safety programmes.
Hasina mentioned that PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), which offers services in auditing, accounting and consultancy, in its February 2017 report predicated Bangladesh to be "one of the three fastest growing economies globally over the next three decades".
"The strength of Bangladesh economy was globally recognised. We have achieved a growth rate of 7.24 percent this year," she said.
She said Bangladesh was a success story in the ready-made garment sector. "We're now the 2nd largest garment exporter in the world. Like the RMG sector, other sectors are making significant progress as well."
About the development of the pharmaceutical sector, Hasina said the pharmaceutical products of Bangladesh were now being exported to 83 countries, including the USA.
"We're fast emerging as a major global hub for high quality, low-cost generic medicines, including Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients," she told her audience.
Hasina pointed out that Bangladesh became self-sufficient in food despite its small land area compared to its vast population.
According to Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the PM said, Bangladesh was among the top 10 global producers in horticulture, inland fisheries, rice and potato. Agricultural innovation, led by small and marginal farmers with appropriate government support, was the key to this success.
Swedish Minister for Enterprise and Innovation Mikael Damberg spoke on the occasion.
A memorandum of understanding between Sweden-Bangladesh Business Council, Stockholm, and Nordic Chamber of Commerce and Industries was also signed to strengthen cooperation in the areas of trade and investment.
The MoU was inked in the presence of Hasina and the Swedish minister for enterprise and innovation.
In another development, two leading Swedish companies Investor AB and ABB Sweden have expressed their keen interest to work for the development of Bangladesh's RMG and power sectors.
The offer came when President of Investor AB Jacob Wallenberg and Vice-President Marcus Wallenberg and CEO of ABB Sweden Johan Soderstrom separately met Hasina at Grand Hotel.
PM's Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim briefed reporters after the meetings.
Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali, Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque, Bangladesh Ambassador to Sweden Golam Sarwar and Swedish Ambassador to Bangladesh Johan Frisell, among others, were present at the meetings.
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