- Published on Saturday, 17 June 2017 10:52
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Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has invited the leaders of Swedish business and industry to partner with Bangladesh in investment and trade for a shared prosperity and bringing a change in the lives of millions in both countries.
"I strongly encourage you, the leaders of Swedish business and industry to partner with us in investment, trade, and innovative businesses for a shared prosperity. Together we can bring a change in the lives of millions in both our countries," she said.
The prime minister said this while addressing a business dialogue of Bangladesh-Sweden Investment Forum at Rosenbad Conference Centre of the Prime Minister's Office here this morning.
The prime minister said Bangladesh has the most liberal investment policy in South Asia. "Cost of establishing business is relatively lower. We enjoy 'duty free, quota free' access to the markets of EU, Australia, Canada, India, Japan and New Zealand," she said.
Sheikh Hasina said 100 'Special Economic Zones' (SEZs) are being established in Bangladesh and such economic zones have been allocated exclusively to China, India and Japan on G2G basis.
"We are also developing a number of Hi-tech Parks ... I invite Swedish companies to partner with us in our development efforts," she said.
The prime minister said that she is happy to learn that an MoU between Sweden Bangladesh Business Council based in Sweden and Nordic Chamber of Commerce and Industry based in Bangladesh will be signed today.
"I believe, it would help establish deeper cooperation between businesses of our two countries," she said.
The premier said the relation between Bangladesh and Sweden dates back to early 70s, during the time of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
She said Swedish people and government, led by Prime Minister Ulf Palme, expressed solidarity with Bangladesh's Liberation War in 1971 and recognized independent Bangladesh on the 4th February in 1972 as one of the first few European countries.
After that the relations grew strength to strength and today, Bangladesh-Sweden relationship is deeper and stronger than ever before, she said, adding this is the time to unlock full potential of our relations.
The prime minister hoped that today's event will give further impetus to trade and investment relation, help the two countries to achieve their common goals.
"I believe, our two business communities utilized the opportunity to sharing views and experiences, exchanging information and ideas and conveying what you can offer to each other," she said.
Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh is a success story in the readymade garment sector and it's now the 2nd largest garment exporter in the world.
Like the RMG sector, she said, other sectors are making significant progress as well.
"Our pharmaceutical products are now being exported to 83 countries, including the USA. We are fast emerging as a major global hub for high quality, low-cost generic medicines, including Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients," she said.
Sheikh Hasina said the 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 oceangoing vessels, she said.
The premier said Bangladesh has made significant progress in areas like poverty alleviation, attaining food security, improving health and sanitation, women empowerment, expanding social safety nets, and so on.
She said Bangladesh is fast making an economic transformation. From subsistence agriculture based one, it is becoming mechanized, process oriented, diversified and value added economy, she added.
"Bangladesh is now globally recognized as a 'role model' for inclusive development," she said.
Sheikh Hasina said PricewaterhouseCoopers in its February 2017 Report identified Bangladesh 'as one of the three fastest growing economies globally over the next three decades.'
"The strength of Bangladesh economy is globally recognized. We have achieved a growth rate of 7.24% this year," she said.
The prime minister said Bangladesh became self-sufficient in food, despite the fact that it has a small land area compared to its vast population.
According to Food and Agricultural Organization, she said, Bangladesh is among the top ten 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," she said.
The prime minister said following the dream of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to make a 'Sonar Bangladesh' (Golden Bangladesh), Bangladesh is on the way to becoming a digitalized, knowledge-based Middle Income Country by 2021.
"We have also set a target to be a developed country by 2041. We have already been graduated to the Lower Middle Income Country status," she said.
Swedish Minister of Enterprise and Innovation Mikael Damberg spoke on the occasion.
FBCCI President Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin and Executive Chairman of Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) Kazi Aminul Islam made separate presentations.
Senior PMO Secretary Suraiya Begum and Labour Secretary Michael Shipper also took part in the panel discussion.
Distinguished leaders of business and industry of Sweden and members of the Bangladesh business delegation were present.
A memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Sweden-Bangladesh Business Council, Stockholm and Nordic Chamber of Commerce and Industries was also signed in the presence of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and the Swedish Minister of Enterprise and Innovation to strengthen cooperation in the areas of trade and investment.
Photo: Focus Bangla