South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon yesterday expressed interest in investing in Bangladesh’s infrastructure, power, ICT, deep sea fishing, construction, shipbuilding and energy sectors to deepen ties between the two countries.
The trade between Bangladesh and Korea needs to be increased beyond the textile and garment sectors, Nak-yon said in the Korea-Bangladesh Business Forum, organised by the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) and the Korea International Trade Association (KITA) at the Hotel InterContinental in Dhaka.
Ministers, diplomats, exporters, importers, businesspersons and trade body leaders attended the forum to explore trade opportunities.
“Some big Korean companies have already invested in Bangladesh, but there is a scope for further business expansion here,” Nak-yon said.
He particularly expressed interest in helping construct 10,000 ICT centres across Bangladesh.
Korea’s Daewoo helped train up manpower for the garment sector in Bangladesh in 1979. Later, Korean multinational company Youngone invested in Bangladesh’s garment sector and employed thousands of workers.
Currently, the size of total investment by Korean companies in Bangladesh is $1.12 billion and most of them are in the textile and leather sectors.
The trade prospects to Korea are promising given the duty-free market access to 90.4 percent of Bangladesh’s products, said Sheikh Fazle Fahim, FBCCI president.
Fahim proposed Korean investment through mergers and acquisition in electronics, automobiles, telecommunications, shipbuilding, chemicals and steel.
“We have one of the most liberal and flexible investment regimes in South Asia and the ease of doing business is being addressed at the highest policy levels.”
Recently, South Korean Super Petrochemical has proposed investments worth $2.38 billion in petrochemicals, which will positively contribute towards the bilateral investment relations, he said.
Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi sought Korean investment in jute and jute goods and leather and leather goods sectors. He called for preferential market access for all Bangladeshi goods to the Korean market as the country is ready to sell the goods at competitive prices. A preliminary agreement between the FBCCI and the KITA was signed to boost the bilateral trade between the two countries. Fahim and Yung Zu Kim on behalf of their respective organisation signed the memorandum.
Nurul Majid Mahmud Humayun, industries minister; Nabhash Chandra Mandal, executive member of the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority; Jahangir Saadat, president of the Korean Export Processing Zone; RyuChul Ho, regional director of Hyundai Engineering and Construction; and Mohammad Enamul Kabir, director of the Bangladesh Computer Council, also spoke.