Japanese Ambassador ITO Naoki on Sunday said the Japanese Economic Zone in Araihazar, Narayanganj, would be able to go into operation within next year, expediting Japanese investments in Bangladesh.
He also suggested that both Bangladesh and Japan governments could take an initiative to conduct a joint study on signing a free trade agreement (FTA) between the two countries.
The Japanese envoy made the remarks during a bilateral business meeting with President of Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) Rizwan Rahman at the DCCI office.
Mr Naoki said the automotive industry of Bangladesh could be a good source of investment. Japan's Mitsubishi has completed their feasibility study and they will take decision on investment in Bangladesh next year.
He mentioned that smooth customs clearance facilities, import transaction, better infrastructure of export processing zones (EPZs) and economic zones (EZs) and skilled human resources would improve ease of doing business.
Bangladesh can be the China Plus One investment destination for Japanese companies, he added.
He also said Bangladesh have been able to send a strong message to the world in terms of keeping positive GDP growth even in the pandemic.
At the meeting, DCCI President Rizwan Rahman said automotive industry in Bangladesh could be an emerging investment sector for Japanese entrepreneurs.
Mentioning that Bangla-desh and Japan have a strong bilateral business relationship since long, he thanked the Japanese government for providing Covid-19 vaccine for people in Bangladesh.
He said the bilateral trade volume was US$2.92 billion in fiscal year 2019-20 -- the exports were worth US$ 1.20 billion and the imports 1.72billion.
Due to coronavirus pandemic, Bangladesh's exports to Japan in 2020-21 were US$1183.64 million, which was quite low than the previous year, he said and hoped that it would increase in the coming days.
He also informed that 321 Japanese companies are now operating (their activities) in Bangladesh and that the Japanese FDI in Bangladesh was US$ 397.15 million in March 2021.
The DCCI president said Bangladesh mainly exports RMG products to Japan.
He requested the Japanese envoy to facilitate export of other promising products of Bangladesh to Japan.
He opined that Japan could play a vital role in skills development in Bangladesh and share technical know-how and train Bangladeshi entrepreneurs.
He also thanked the Japanese entrepreneurs who have already registered for 'Bangladesh Trade and Investment Summit' to be jointly organised by the Ministry of Commerce and the DCCI from October 26.
DCCI Senior Vice President N K A Mobin, FCS, FCA, Vice President Monowar Hossain and Second Secretary (Economic Affairs and Development Cooperation Section) of Japan Embassy Shirahata Kasumi were present at the meeting.
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