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Speech of FBCCI President A.K Azad at a luncheon meeting with German delegates

Address by

Mr. A. K. Azad, President, FBCCI

At the Luncheon Meeting in honor of Delegation from Germany

On November, 29, 2011 at Ruposhi Bangla Hotel,Dhaka.

Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim

–        Dr. Karl-Ernst Brauner

Director of the Department of Foreign Trade Policy,

Ministry of Economics and Technology of Germany and

Leader of the Delegation.

–                     Dr. Ralf Reusch

Deputy Head of the Mission of Embassy of Germany in Bangladesh

–                     High Officials of Germany and Bangladesh

–                     Distinguished Business Delegates from Germany

–                     Distinguished Director of FBCCI

–                     Business Leaders of Bangladesh & Members of the

Bangladesh- German Chamber of Commerce

–                     Distinguished Guests

–                     Members of the Media

–                     Ladies and Gentlemen

Assalamu Alaikum/Very Good Afternoon,

On behalf of FBCCI and on my own behalf, I have the great honor and privilege to welcome German Business Delegation and Entourage of the President of the Federal Republic of Germany.

At the very outset of my speech, I would like to introduce FBCCI, as the apex trade organization of the private sector of Bangladesh consisting of 41 boards of directors and representing 286 Associations and 88 Chambers including 17 Joint Chambers. FBCCI also represents the private sector in 80 Government constituted boards and national committees. It plays a pivotal role in consultative and advisory capacity in the formulation of commercial, industrial and fiscal policies of the government.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Bangladesh & Germany hold long historical bondage and high powered official and business delegation visit Germany will help to strengthen our mutual relations based on our common aspirations for social and economic development of our two countries.

I would like to recall the historical visit of the Honorable Prime Minister of Bangladesh along with a business delegation to Berlin, Germany last month. We have had a successful meeting with the business leaders of Germany for developing our bilateral trade and investment. I think today’s meeting is also the continuity of our increasing mutual cooperation.

Dear Friends

You all know that Bangladesh has a long lasting relationship with Germany and Bangladesh attaches great importance to this relationship. Over the past years, the European Union (EU)(which includes Germany) as a group has become the foremost trading partner of Bangladesh.

Bangladesh exported commodities of worth US $ 11.648 billion to the EU member countries in 2010-11 which was 50.82% of our total annual export earnings. The EU is currently giving the duty-waiver facility to Bangladesh under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP).

Germany is the second largest export destination of Bangladesh after the United States (US). Trade with Germany provides Bangladesh with a substantial annual trade surplus. Germany is an open market with free access for Bangladeshi good, without any import tariffs.

During 2010-11, Bangladesh’s export to Germany was of US$ 3438.70 million against its import of US$ 692.21 million. The main exports of Bangladesh to Germany are: knitwear, woven garments, home textiles, frozen food, agro-products, jute goods, leather goods and medicines.

In this connection let me express our deep appreciation for the very encouraging and positive outlook of German President Christian Wulff outlining the renewed bond of Bangladesh and German relation.

In an interview with leading local English daily he said:

  • Describing Bangladesh’s economic growth over the past years as impressive, especially in the textile sector, Wulff said, “German firms are very satisfied with their ventures in Bangladesh and have a lot to offer to the country.”
  • He observed that Bangladesh and Germany have medium and long-term opportunities for “strong and vibrant economic relations.”
  • Germany is eager to expand its investment in Bangladesh’s infrastructure, urban development and eco-friendly energy.
  • Dhaka and Berlin can “enhances cooperation on mitigating the impact of climate change, an area in which Bangladesh plays a very important and constructive role.”

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to present a brief outline on the economic scenario of Bangladesh:

Over the last four years, shipbuilding emerged as new sector in the bilateral trade. Currently, Bangladesh shipbuilders have secured orders from German ship-owners worth EURO 250 million. In high-end technology and machinery Germany is one of our most important import partners.

Bangladesh has quite strong macroeconomic fundamentals, maintaining a steady economic growth rate of over 6% during the past few years.

Our GDP growth rate was in FY 2010-2011   — 6.66%

Target fixed for the FY 2011-2012        — 7% and

Expected growth rate by FY 2013  –8%.

In 2010-11 the contribution of Service sector : 49.72%,

Industrial sector: 30.33%  and

Agriculture sector: 19.95%.

A remarkable progress has been achieved in the export sector with significant structural changes. Merchandise export has increased from US$ 1.7 billion in 1990-91 to US$ 22.9 billion in 2010-11. Last year’s export growth was 41.7% higher than the previous year.

To continue this growth we need US$ 28 billion investment more under the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) guideline of the present Government.

Distinguished Business Leaders,

The possibilities for expansion of trade is enormous, covering items exportable from Bangladesh such as – shrimps, ready-made garments, knitwear and home textiles, tents, leather and leather products, handicrafts, leather & sports footwear, ceramic products (sanitary wares and table-wares), pharmaceuticals, bicycle, jute goods, PVC bags, cables and wires, etc. from Bangladesh; while imports from Germany could comprise machinery and mechanical appliances, chemical products, electrical equipment, prepared foodstuffs, base metal & articles, optical & photographic products, vehicles & transport equipment, plastic products, textile products, etc.

I would like to mention here that Germany’s investment in Bangladesh was about US $ 80 million in 2010-11. We hope to see increasing investment in future. We urge the German business leaders to invest in Bangladesh especially in sectors of High-end products.

Bangladesh is maintaining a sustainable policy for foreign investment in Bangladesh. Bangladesh has-

  • 50 million trained and educated workforce,
  • Sizeable domestic market with 147 million people, and
  • Steady economic growth.

For attracting FDI, the Government of Bangladesh has offered a number of packages and incentives which are considered the best in the region, including-

–                     Guarantees of repatriation of investment and profit,

–                     Financial incentives like tax holiday for certain years,

–                     Option to set up ventures either wholly owned or in joint collaboration with local partners.

Based on the economic strengths and requirements of the two countries, Germany and Bangladesh, there are certain areas for investment collaboration which include:

  • Textile Sector
  • Backward Linkage Industries  of  RMG
  • Electronics
  • Information Technology
  • Natural Gas-based Industries

Electricity, Fertilizer, Petro-chemicals, Power Generation

  • Frozen Foods
  • Leather
  • Ceramic
  • Light Engineering
  • Health Care
  • Consumer Goods
  • Shipbuilding and
  • Pharmaceutical sector.

Distinguished Guests, you are aware that I would like to mention here that Geographic location of Bangladesh is ideal for global trades with very convenient access to international sea and air route. We are already in BIMST-EC, APTA and SAFTA under SAARC, which are also big markets. We have easy access to the Eastern part of China through Kunming initiative.

As an LDC, most Bangladeshi products enjoy complete duty and quota free access in EU, Japan, Australia, Canada and most of the developed countries, As an LDC we are also enjoying duty free market access facilities of some listed products separately to USA, South Korea, Iran and India.

The Government of Bangladesh has established 8 Export Processing Zones within Dhaka and other district level and provided necessary infrastructural, fiscal and non-fiscal facilities with very attractive incentives for export-oriented enterprises.

The Government also has a plan to establish a Deep Sea-Port for boosting the county’s trade and setting up Special Economic Zones for industrial development.

The present Govt. of Bangladesh has also taken a lot of reform programs in trading, industrial, fiscal, legal and administrative areas for the development of the country and enhancement of trade & investment.

Before I conclude, I would like to extend our sincere thanks once again to the delegates from Germany and Business Leaders and Guests of Bangladesh. I hope this meeting will certainly bring about considerable amount of positive results for strengthening our trade and business relations.

Thank you all.

Allah Hafez.

Dhaka

29 November, 2011                                                          A. K. Azad
President, FBCCI

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