Mumbai, June 28 (ANI): Bangladesh is not only India's neighbour, but also offers huge business and investment opportunities for Indian businesses.
However, investment opportunities for Indian industrialists in Bangladesh had not been explored in depth so far.
The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) took the initiative to correct this disparity when it organised the first ever 'India-Bangladesh Investor's' Meet' in the country.
Kris Gopalakrishnan, President, Confederation Of Indian Industry (CII) and Co-Founder and Executive Vice Chairman, Infosys Limited, highlighted the positive points in the bilateral talks between the two countries when he said, "The interesting feature in bilateral economic engagement between India and Bangladesh is that despite common economic advantages, our two nations have evolved in different industry sectors. While garments and agricultural products are exported from Bangladesh, Indian exports include automotives and pharmaceuticals. We feel that Indian investment in Bangladesh with the possibilities of re-export to India would help in diversifying the exports of Bangladesh and thereby reduce the trade gap between India and Bangladesh."
He put forth what was on offer: "This meet offers Investment opportunities in the Joint Venture mode in 23 projects with a net value of USD 186.5 million. The 13 important sectors for the Joint venture partnerships include Agro Processing, Automobiles, Ceramics, Chemicals, Gems and Jewellery, Light Engineering, ICT, Hospital and Medical Equipment, Pharmaceuticals, Plastics, Professional Services, Tourism, Textiles (including home textile) etc to attract foreign investments in the country. "
He highlighted that India has offered Bangladesh the facility of zero-duty exports under the Least Developed Country initiative. He urged the Indian companies to take advantage of this facility to export to India and other countries.
Adi Godrej, Past President Confederation of Indian Industry and Chairman, Godrej Group said, "Bangladesh is a winning combination of competitive market, business - friendly environment and competitive cost structure. The Risk factors for FDI are minimum and the country has consistently grown at 6 % GDP over the years. Bangladesh offers a well educated, highly adaptive and industrious workforce with the lowest labour cost in the Region. It offers the most liberal FDI regime in South Asia allowing 100% foreign equity ownership with unrestricted exit policy, remittance of royalty and repatriation of equity and dividend. In addition to this, Bangladesh enjoys duty free access to India, European Union, Canada and Japan and is an attractive destination for potential exporters. India and Bangladesh have signed the Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement and Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreement. This encourages us to explore the opportunities in Bangladesh."
He informed the gathering that a large number of Indian firms from both public and private sector have been working on different turnkey projects in Bangladesh. The sectors include power, transmission lines, telecom, textiles, chemicals and pharmaceutical, glass, plastics and engineering.
He added, "During my interactions in Dhaka, I felt that the Government of Bangladesh facilitates and provides all the support to the potential investors from India with the facilities for land allocation, gas / power/ electricity connection, working capital, and fast track documentation including visa facilitation. We are happy to note that with this encouragement, there are 270 direct and joint venture proposals from India constituting US $ 2.5 billion that have been registered with Board of Investment till December 2012. The major sectors of Indian interest include Agro- Based, Textile, Chemical industries, Engineering and Service Industries which in turn have created 51,653 jobs in Bangladesh. Yet I strongly believe that at USD 2.5 billion, the Indian Investment into Bangladesh is far below the actual potential."
Dr. Syed Abdus Samad, Executive Chairman, Board Of Investment Bangladesh Govt of Bangladesh, said, "India could do lot more in Bangladesh given how complementary the two countries are in the economic, cultural, historical and political spheres. It is hence disappointing that we do so little in trade and investment. It can multiply manifold if mental and physical barriers can be removed between the two countries."
He aded that, "Matching inputs can be be mobilized in joint ventures. If India has capital, Bangladesh has labour. India has technology and our people find it easier to do business with Indians. It is but natural that we would like more Indian investment and would like to export more to India."
Matlub Ahmad, President, India-Bangladesh Chamber Of Commerce and Industry (IBCCI), highlighted, "We need Indian industry to look at huge opportunities just across the border. Bangladesh has one of the best mix for low cost production base like a competitively priced and hard working labour force, excellent financial and infrastructure support, sufficient land water and power, friendly and forward business people and an extremely FDI friendly prime minister."
Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) said, "Our geostrategic location offers much potential for partnership as we are close to the vibrant and rapidly growing economies of East and South East Asia. Further, India's North East is a Region of vast natural resources and human talent. Leveraging the opportunities in the North East in infrastructure and industry as well as services makes eminent sense for Bangladesh. In the context of global economic and trade slowdown, it is necessary for neighbors like India and Bangladesh to tap their inherent advantages for cooperation."
Mohammad Habibur Rahman Khan, Minister (Commercial), High Commission Of Peoples Republic Of Bangladesh informed the gathering that a lot of steps have been taken to reduce the huge trade imbalances between the two countries that include decreasing visa norms for business people and opening a deputy high commission in Mumbai. (ANI)