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Allow 100pc FDI sans any discrimination

Visiting Lankan apparel sector leaders urge Bangladesh

FE REPORT | January 22, 2020 00:00:00

Visiting apparel sector leaders from Sri Lanka have requested Bangladesh to allow 100 per cent foreign direct investment (FDI) without any discrimination between local and foreign companies in offering supports.

They also expressed their interest to invest in Bangladesh's textile and garment industry to collectively utilise the existing strengths of both the countries and grab global market.

The delegation stressed the need for equal policy support to encourage investment from Sri Lanka that is good at manufacturing value added garment items and have collaboration with buyers in products innovation.

The observations came at a meeting of the two countries' trade bodies-Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and Joint Apparel Association Forum (JAAF) of Sri Lanka-held on Monday at the former's Gulshan office in the capital.

BGMEA and JAAF also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to promote bi-lateral business relation and enhance co-operation in the field of production, trade, commerce and research related to textile and garment industry.

JAAF Chairman Sharad Amalean, who is leading the seven-member delegation, and BGMEA President Dr Rubana Huq on behalf of their respective associations signed the MoU.

"Bangladesh should open 100 per cent foreign direct investment here from any one," he said at a press briefing after the meeting.

Someone wants to come and puts 100 per cent investment, puts money on people and machinery, takes risk. They all are adding value in terms of manufacturing, he said.

"Don't discriminate," he said explaining that recently they have encountered something like this.

Incentives are given only to local companies, he said adding that this is sending a different message to investors.

In response to a question, Ms Huq said regionally they must come together terming the inter-regional trade 'less'.

She has requested the visiting delegation for joint investment in the country's proposed special economic zones.

She proposed for investing value added garment items manufacturing and setting up textiles especially human-made fibre industries.

Both the leaders discussed how to utilise the strengths and opportunities of the two countries and overcome the challenges.

Bangladesh enjoys duty free access for locally made products' exports to European Union, and the country has availability of workforce, Sharad said adding that it has challenges too like connectivity issue.

Explaining Sri Lankan challenges, he said they have issues like rising cost of labour.

"We see opportunities here in Bangladesh and want to grow the two countries' industry collectively," he noted.

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