PM woos French entrepreneurs to invest in Bangladesh

14 Dec,2017


Paris (France), BdChronicle:

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday urged French businessmen to invest in Bangladesh to avail themselves of its friendliest foreign investment and trade regimes in the region for a win-win partnership for both sides.

"My message to you is simple – France needs to invest to sustain its growth while Bangladesh needs investment to expedite its growth. You need competitive sourcing options while we look for diversifying our export destinations. This offers a perfect combination for a win-win partnership for both of our countries," she said.

The Prime Minister was speaking at the breakfast meeting with the Movement for the Enterprise of France (MEDEF) at Lulli of Intercontinental Paris Le Grand (Opera) hotel here.

Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh is a land of opportunities and potentials while it has one of the friendliest foreign investment and trade regimes in the region.

"We strongly encourage French companies to come up with investments, including with concessional financing options," she said.

The Prime Minister said Bangladesh is a huge market of 160 million people. Located between south and south-east Asia, Bangladesh is the natural gateway between the Asean and Saarc regions.

"We’re also investing heavily to improve regional connectivity. Thus investing in Bangladesh will give you access to the entire region, a market of nearly 2 billion people," she said.

Hasina said Bangladesh is setting up 100 ‘Special Economic Zones’ across the country to industrialise Bangladesh in an inclusive manner. "We invite you to set up a French SEZ in Bangladesh."

She mentioned that there is a scope for further French investment in the urban infrastructure, energy and the blue economy sectors besides the traditional areas of trade between the two countries. "We’re also in talks with French authorities to support our efforts in these sectors."

The Prime Minister said she is encouraged to see the growth in bilateral trade and investment between Bangladesh and France in recent years.

"The two-way trade between Bangladesh and France stands at over USD 2 billion. France is now Bangladesh's 5th largest export destination," Hasina said.

Mentioning the French FDI to Bangladesh was USD 14.64 million in 2016-17, she said there is certainly a room for more French investment in Bangladesh.

"I understand that a visit by MEDEF to Bangladesh is expected to take place soon. We welcome that. Such a visit will surely contribute to further expanding bilateral trade and investment between Bangladesh and France," she said.

Despite challenges, the PM said, Bangladesh achieved 7.28 percent GDP growth last year and this powerful momentum has created huge opportunities in Bangladesh. “And the strength of Bangladesh’s economy is globally recognised.”

MEDEF Chairman Pierre Gattaz led the French business delegation at the meeting.

Country Manager Asia Department of Agency Francaise Development Marine Karcher, Analyst Trade and Loans of Banco Santander, Export Finance Associate of Bpifrance Financement Samia EL Omri, Structure finance account manager of Credit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank Thibault, Jean-Claude Perrin of Gemalto, Asia President of Gemalto Tech Lee Tan, Corporate Country Director of Asia Pacific of Naval Group Farncosis De Saint Victor, Vice President of Business Development of STX France Franck Chauty and Deputy Vice President of Total Fabrice Bounaix, among others, attended the meeting.

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