Bangladesh needs to campaign in Turkiye to woo more foreign direct investment (FDI) for mutual benefits of the two Muslim brotherly countries, said the president of Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI).
DCCI president Rizwan Rahman made the call during a forum on 'Exploring trade and investment opportunities between Bangladesh and Turkiye' hosted by the Foreign Economic Relations Board of Turkiye (DEIK) in Istanbul on Thursday.
An 86-member business delegation, led by the DCCI chief, is now visiting Istanbul with a view to exploring a new horizon of trade and investment opportunities and attracting FDI from Turkiye.
"Even during the Covid-19 crisis period," Mr Rahman said, "Bangladesh exports did not fall, rather our exports grew by 34.38 per cent till June 2022."
He highlighted the demographic dividend as working-age people comprise 65 per cent in Bangladesh.
"Turkiye-Bangladesh Business Council was established in 2011 and Bangladesh-Turkiye Business Forum in 2022. Moreover, both countries are member states of Developing-8 (D8) and Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC)."
The DCCI chief suggested forming a joint economic commission with the active participation of the private sectors of both nations.
He invited Turkish carpet makers to import quality jute from Bangladesh.
Mr Rahman cited apparel, value chain, automotive, leather and footwear, pharmaceutical, plastic and infrastructure as potential sectors for Turkish entrepreneurs in Bangladesh.
"We need to figure it out if there are any tariff and non-tariff barriers in exports to Turkiye."
Mr Rahman also stressed the transfer and share of knowledge, expertise, technology and research, citing that "Bangladesh is ready to take Turkish investment right at this moment."
During the meeting, DEIK/Turkiye-Bangladesh Business Council chairman Onur Ozden said Bangladesh's economy has progressed a lot in the last few decades and made it one of the most potential countries globally.
Turkish entrepreneurs are already in operation in Bangladesh and others are very keen to explore these possibilities further.
Mr Ozden suggested that the Dhaka-Ankara bilateral trade be increased and such business delegations be exchanged as the best option for that.
Turkiye Ambassador to Bangladesh Mostafa Osman Turan said Bangladesh is a land of opportunities… It is giving different fiscal and non-fiscal incentives to foreign investors.
The business-to-business (B2B) contact module in this case plays a vital role in enhancing trade and investment, he maintained.
Mr Turan said bilateral trade has currently crossed $1.3 billion and it has potential to grow more.
"Bangladesh is a large market and Turkish investors may explore this opportunity. Infrastructure development, policy reforms and ease of business registration process will attract Turkish investors…," he observed.
Bangladesh Ambassador in Ankara Mosud Mannan said the existing bilateral trade has the potential to reach $2.0 billion, urging the private sectors of both countries to play the role of catalysts for that.
Despite a language barrier existent between the two countries, it still can be overcome, he asserted.
Mr Mannan said Bangladesh would establish 100 economic zones with different lucrative packages to foster foreign investors to come and invest in Bangladesh.
More than 110 companies invited by DEIK joined for an interactive B2B session with the DCCI business delegation members after the business forum.
A memorandum of understanding was signed between the DCCI and Istanbul Gedik University.
DCCI president Rahman and Istanbul Gedik University's Board of Trustees president Hulya Gedik signed the document on behalf of their respective organisations.
Mohammad Nore-Alam, consul general of Bangladesh in Istanbul, was also present during the meeting.
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