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Bangladesh Textile Export Success Attracting Pakistani Firms

Bangladesh has invited PM Khan to D8 Summit which it is hosting in capital Dhaka in the third week of April. The developing-8 nations group includes: Pakistan, Turkey, Malaysia, Iran, Nigeria, Egypt and Bangladesh.

DESPARDES — Bangladesh is no longer an agrarian economy. It has evolved from producing only basic necessities to manufacturing value-added products (readymade garment and IT services) by offering better infrastructure, cheaper utility prices and attractive tax incentives to investors.

According to a report, the South Asian country is expected to earn over $60 billion in exports by the year 2021. Readymade garment (RMG) industry is the prime sector of the country, accounting for 82pct of the total foreign currency earned. Overall export earnings touched $34.2 billion in the previous financial year.

This has led to excellent macroeconomic stability characterized by a high growth rate and a satisfactory level of public debt.

According to reports, Pakistani textile firms are said to be continually establishing value-adding garment production units in Bangladesh.

“It is an open and diverse economy with very cheap labor, almost three times cheaper than Pakistan,” said Bangladesh Deputy High Commissioner Noor-e-Helal Saifur Rahman at a seminar in Karachi.

“The country has a strategic geographical position as a gateway to the Asia-Pacific region.”

“Businessmen from Pakistan have expressed keen interest in investing in Bangladesh. In fact, a Pakistani entity is about to make historic investment in Bangladesh,” revealed Rahman.

“A new group, which we are not disclosing right now, is going to make an even bigger investment,” he said while talking to The Express Tribune on the sidelines of the seminar.

Speaking at a seminar titled “Talking Bangladesh Where Export and Investment Grow Better” in the mega city on Tuesday, the envoy pointed out that Soorty Enterprises invested $35 million by setting up a (garment) factory in Bangladesh more than five years ago. “The firm now employs 6,000 Bangladeshis,” he added.

The South Asian country has planned to develop 100 economic zones nationwide over the next 15 years, which would create 10 million jobs and produce export-oriented goods worth $40 billion.

In April, Dhaka will host the next Summit of the eight-nation D-8 or Developing-8. The group includes Pakistan, Turkey, Malaysia, Iran, Nigeria, Egypt and Bangladesh.

“We have invited Prime Minister Imran Khan to the upcoming D8 summit and hopefully he will attend the event,” said Saifur Rahman. “Relationships between Pakistan and Bangladesh are improving but still they are not as good as they should be.”

He added that keeping the ground realities in mind, the two countries should proceed slowly but soundly. He pointed out that a massive potential existed to enhance bilateral trade between the two nations.

Also speaking at the seminar, Bangladesh High Commissioner Tarik Ahsan said advancement in political relations between Pakistan and Bangladesh would help improve bilateral business ties.

“Balance of trade between the two countries is lopsided”.

According to latest data from the UN Comtrade, Pakistan’s exports to Bangladesh in 2018 were valued at $784 million. On the other hand, Pakistan’s imports amounted to $72 million in the same period.

Report based on articles in Fibre2Fashion and The Express Tribune with input from Irshad Salim in Islamabad

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