President’s Speech at 12th CSABF

SPEECH OF
Muhammad Ayub
PRESIDENT
Bangladesh Indenting Agents’ Association (BIAA), Dhaka, Bangladesh
at the
12TH CHINA-SOUTH ASIA BUSINESS FORUM
on
“Challenging Opportunities: Job Creation & Investment Innovation”

Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim

Excellencies, Respected Chairman, Dignitaries, Moderator, Ladies and Gentlemen, Good afternoon to you all.

First of all, I express my gratitude to Peoples Government of Yunnan Province and the Government of PR of China, CCPIT, and SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry for continuing this auspicious Forum with an objective to building cooperation in trade and commerce and balanced development of the region.  It is really a great honour for me to be here for presentation on behalf of Bangladesh Indenting Agents’ Association. I am also grateful for the warm and generous hospitality shown to me & BIAA delegates by CCPIT at this most auspicious event.

Undoubtedly, China-South Asia Business Forum has been playing a key role for the development of regional & economic cooperation between China and South Asian Countries. In strengthening business relationship and reaping mutual benefit among the industrial and commercial circles within the region, the CSABF Meet has been an important platform with its time-demanding themes attached each year. The theme for the 12th China-South Asia Business Forum is “Challenging Opportunities—Job Creation and Investment Innovation” which is certainly a significant theme for exploring new windows in terms of bolstering business and opportunities for investment cooperation.

Dear Friends,

We believe the CSABF Meet has been an effective platform for fostering International Trade, tourism, cultural ties, political relations and improve socio-economic stability among the nations. The meet has also enhanced state-to-state relations & business friendship, exploring avenues for strengthening bilateral and multilateral, financial cooperation, openness, inclusiveness, mutual learning and resilience.

China has already become Bangladesh’s largest trade partner with its export to Bangladesh. The country’s export to China is also on the rise. The total import from China in the fiscal year 2015-2016 is nearly US $ 10.00 billion against which the export from Bangladesh to China is only US $ 0.7 billion which is very negligible. I think it’s the right time to move ahead for minimizing prevailing trade gaps and increase more bilateral business relations between the two countries.

In this auspicious occasion I would like to take the opportunity to introduce Bangladesh Indenting Agents’ Association (BIAA). Who we are? 

Bangladesh Indenting Agents’ Association (BIAA) is the only national Trade promotional body of all the Indentors in Bangladesh. Indentors are local representatives of the foreign companies/suppliers who act as an agent in marketing the products of foreign companies in Bangladesh market.

It is creditworthy to mention here that BIAA is a service oriented business Association and we are the only ISO Certified Association of the country. We are vastly experienced to ensure higher standard and new technologies of products from any part of the Globe at competitive price with ethical business practice.

Members of BIAA are representing overseas exporters into Bangladesh market, who play a match making role in the import trade and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Bangladesh.

We, BIAA, as the business matchmakers between Bangladesh and foreign countries got good relationship with the CCPIT, and maintaining warm ties with the Chinese manufacturers, exporters, different Chambers and Council for promotion of bilateral trade between the two countries side by side with the Government.

Bangladesh Indenting Agents’ Association (BIAA) has MOU with:

CCPIT Public Relations Department for exchanging views and ideas, training and unearthing new field of business

CCPIT Legal Affairs Department for establishment of Mediation Centre to resolve business dispute out of Court through mediation.

CCPIT, Kunming, Yunnan Sub-Council, for promotion of trade and commerce between the two friendly countries

Federation of Hong Kong Industries, Hong Kong, SAR, PR of China.

Besides, we are working to sign MOU and work accordingly to strengthen business relationship with other Provinces of PR of China which are yet to be exploited. As a trade promotional Association, we, the BIAA business community have been closely associated with CSABF organized by CCPIT and Peoples Govt. of Yunnan Province since its inception and the inflow of FDI from overseas countries including PR of China.

 Dear Friends,

In recent years, Bangladesh and China have maintained good momentum in developing economic and trade volume.  China is the biggest trade partner and one of the most trusted friend of Bangladesh.

We strongly believe that the 12th CSABF Forum will play a major part for opening windows for investment and trade between China and South Asian countries

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Bangladesh has been trying to establish itself as the most trusted destination for foreign investment. Our policy has steadily been liberalized, and the Government has adopted an “Open Door Policy” to attract investors, and ensure competitive climate for private investment both foreign and locals. Significant progress has been achieved in reducing non-tariff restrictions on trade, rationalizing tariff rates and improving export incentives. Its strategic location, regional connectivity and worldwide access have made the country viable for FDI. We have 100% foreign equity allowed with unrestricted exit policy. Besides, special incentives, economic zones are allowed for increasing business activities between the two countries.

Distinguished business dignitaries,

At this stage I would like to focus on the topic “Challenging Opportunities—Job Creation and Investment Innovation”.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Investment Innovation and job creation is the synonym of each other. We need to find more sectors and explore potentials for investment and mutual business scopes. In doing so, BIAA always try to do the needful for playing due role in economic development of the country.

In the last CSABF Meet, we organized a Seminar on Relocation of “Chinese labor intensive industries to Bangladesh” and now we like to focus on the follow up seminar in Bangladesh jointly by CCPIT & BIAA.

You know, Bangladesh is a market of 170 million people out of which about 70% use cellphone for their domestic and business purpose. I am pleased to inform that the local cell phone market is mainly dependent on Chinese mobile phone companies.We would like to arrange seminar on relocation of labor intensive industries and high tech industries and also welcome Chinese manufacturers especially for assembling of computer, mobile devices of renowned Chinese brands, and other electronic gadgets in Bangladesh which could be exported to other countries from Bangladesh. And through this, more economic cooperation & job opportunities will be established for balanced economic development.

Enterprise Transformation for decreasing uneven competition should also be taken into consideration for overall economic development of the region. Training Programs on IT, Chinese Language Learning Institutes, Training on Protection of IP Rights and other business oriented programs are essential to minimize the trade gap between the two countries which will undoubtedly encourages new enterprises to initiate new ventures and thus ultimately facilitating factors of balanced economic growth.

We would recommend to jointly organize a Training Camp on Learning Chinese Language only for the members of BIAA who have wide business links with Chinese suppliers but they cannot speak Chinese Language. We will provide venue and other logistic support.

Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) has taken to improve Bangladesh’s ease of doing business. At least 400 Chinese companies are currently doing business in Bangladesh. The government has allotted a separate economic zone for China in Chittagong. Bangladesh may be the transportation hub in the South Asia Pacific and can attract foreign investors by establishment of economic & industrial zone.  These zones will bridge up employment scope and facilitate trade and commerce of the country.

Let us take a look at the FDI Inflow in last 15 years of the country.

Hon’Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit on October 14, 2016 in Bangladesh usher a new era of relations. Both sides witnessed the signing of 27 deals and unveiled plaques of six projects whereas all the agreements including the private sector was worth of $38 billion.  The Chinese government and the private sector investors understand that Bangladesh is a best place for investment as the country has been witnessing more than 6% year on year economic growth for several years and it has crossed 7 percent in calendar year 2016 and Gov. projected 7.4% in the FY 2017-2018.

Every deal is meaningful for Bangladesh as China has surplus investment fund, China may import lot of goods specially jute and jute goods, leather and leather goods, sea food, omasum etc. from Bangladesh. We the business community believes that through the visit of Chinese President, more windows are now open to come up and increase business activities between us. We are working on the business and investment climate so that the foreign investors, especially the investors from China, can do business in Bangladesh with ease and comfort due to liberal policies taken by the government.the world economy is slowing down, Bangladesh’s economy is growing, which creates a lot of opportunities for investors from abroad.

Bangladesh has also formally joined China’s “One Belt One Road” Initiative which comprises the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. The aim is to boost development of other countries and their trade with China. Beijing is also working on a Bangladesh-China-India Myanmar or BCIM economic corridor, to connect South Asia with Southeast Asia. The corridor will connect Dhaka with Kunming, the capital of Yunnan province. Besides, the hon’ble Chinese President Xi Jinping recently pledged $ 124 billion for his new Silk Road plan to forge a path of peace, inclusiveness and free trade.

In advancing the Belt and Road, it will create a new model of cooperation and connect 65 countries of Asia, Europe and Africa. We believe that beside G2G, this initiative will attract more private investment in Bangladesh. Presently, China imports raw material from different countries worth 35,000 crore dollar in a year and through this initiative Bangladesh’s export to China will undoubtedly increase and it will facilitate balanced economic growth in the country.

The high ups of the Governments of the connecting countries may focus on implementation process of their visions and initiatives to foster businesses and reconstruct policy matters where necessary to pace the process, since the world is moving faster. We believe that through this CSABF Meet, we can go one step ahead to make our economy forward.

As we all know that in business dealings, a dispute may arise so we proposed to form a Mediation Center to resolve business disputes between indentors in Bangladesh and suppliers of PR of China. We already signed MOU with CCPIT Legal Affairs Department. We want immediate launching & implementation of its operational activities which will assist ethical business practice between the two countries.

Bangladesh may be as a major destination for future investment for China. Chinese companies may play an important role in financing, building and operating infrastructure projects in Bangladesh like build road, infrastructure, power and energy development projects etc. Now our foreign policy is equipped with a strategic vision as well as economic considerations for Chinese investors. Chinese manufacturing firms are diversifying their investment with ‘Go Global’ Strategy, so we welcome more Chinese FDI in Bangladesh.

The Bangladesh government has been playing a key role in framing policies to foster infrastructure developments in ICT. Bangladesh wants to draw the attention of foreign investors to create opportunities of IT jobs and, consequently, help Bangladesh become a middle-income country by 2021. The idea is to repeat the success of the RMG sector (which has created millions of jobs, though mainly lower-skill/lower-wage, and billions in foreign exchange), and significantly increase higher skill IT jobs to attract the youth, and thus accelerating mutual economic growth.

We would like to welcome international IT companies/investors (Google, Intel, etc.) and especially Chinese investors/manufactures to establish IT centers (R&D, Service); manufacturing units etc. in helping Bangladeshi entrepreneurs to start IT companies by providing funds/incubation, sales/business development/marketing support.

Skill development is the main prerequisite of economic development of a country through which planned human resource development (HRD) is possible. As the economy of a country grows, the demand for different types and levels of skill in different sectors expand. In the context of the globalization process, it is necessary to develop appropriate human resources as are required to meet the changing demands all over the country. We welcome Chinese expertise/investors to provide necessary support of skill development of Bangladeshi peoples for export of human resources in China and other countries which will undoubtedly assist in local and overseas employment.

To facilitate the process of trade and investment, we would like to propose for a “comprehensive visa agreement” whereas the business dignitaries and entrepreneurs of BCIM, BIMSTEC & SAARC Forum Countries may frequently visit the CSABF Countries as and when required for business promotion and enterprise development.

Distinguished business leaders,

As the business pioneering organization, BIAA is working to arrange Seminars, Conferences in Bangladesh and welcome joint ventures, foreign investor, Trade Bodies, Business Dignitaries for their business exposure frequently.

BIAA will extend all out cooperation in organizing such events with a view to ensuring more business relationship as they are recognized as the gateway of access to Bangladesh market for the foreign exporters and companies.

I must thank the Organizers for inviting me and my delegate members in this esteemed Forum for this presentation on behalf of BIAA. My heartiest thanks go to the Secretariat of China-South Asia Business Forum for their hospitality and continuous support extended to the delegates to make the Forum a great success.

I thank you all once again for your patient hearing.

Long Live BIAA. Long Live China-South Asia Business Forum,

Long live China-Bangladesh Friendship.

 

Muhammad  Ayub,

President