Statement by H.E. Sheikh Hasina, Hon’ble Prime Minister of Bangladesh at the Executive Business Roundtable on 21 September 2021 at New York

Nisha Biswal, President, US-Bangladesh Business Council,

Members of the US-Bangladesh Business Council,

Leaders of the US and Bangladesh Business World.

Assalamu Alaikum and Good Afternoon.

It is a pleasure for me to be with you today.

All of your presence here reflects keen interest in doing serious business with Bangladesh.

I thank Nisha Biswal and the US-Bangladesh Business Council for hosting this important event.

I recall the launching of the US-Bangladesh Business Council on 6 April 2021.

One of its first acts was to send a shipment of COVID-19 medical equipment to Bangladesh.

I thank you all for this generous gesture.

This year we celebrate the 50thAnniversary of Bangladesh’s independence and the Birth Centenary of the Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

Bangabandhu envisioned Bangladesh as a prosperous “Golden Bengal”, free of deprivation and economic disparity.

Our government’s goal is to realize his cherished dream.

Thus, pursuing that goal in the last decade has resulted in much progress, and Bangladesh being recognized as a `Role Model of Socio-Economic development.’

The world has also recognized the strength and resilience of Bangladesh’s economy that had withstood the perils of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The UN has, therefore, this year made its final recommendation on Bangladesh’s graduation from LDC status.

Bangladesh is indeed progressing well towards our vision of emerging as a developed nation by 2041.

Our many ongoing projects, especially the “Delta Plan 2100” with its recovery of land, green growth, efficient use of water, are projected to make huge contributions.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Bangladesh-US friendship is based on common values and shared interests.

It is reflected in our expanding overall business relations.

Our trade relations can be further strengthened with duty free access and other trade privileges in the US market.

Bangladesh is ready to commence Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations with the US at an appropriate time.

Since Bangladesh will graduate from LDC status in 2026, to enhance its global competitiveness and expansion of its export base, it will appreciate US’s support.

Meanwhile, the US-Bangladesh Business Council may continue to play a catalytic role in raising the present annual bilateral trade of US$ 9 billion to higher figures.

US is, of course, the largest investor in Bangladesh with stakes in energy, banking and insurance sectors.

We invite US investment in other lucrative sectors as ICT, renewable energy, shipbuilding, automobile, light engineering, agro-processing, blue economy, tourism, knowledge based hi-tech industries, among others.

Our investment is heavily on improving the infrastructure and power supply to facilitate FDI in the mentioned and other promising sectors in Bangladesh.

Business Leaders,

The ADB Outlook 2019 mentioned that Bangladesh is the fastest growing economy in the Asia-Pacific region.

ADB attributes this to strong leadership, good governance, stable government, political stability, sound macro-economic policy and right development priorities.

Rapid urbanization, increasing consumption of electricity, rapid growth of middle class, growing connectivity with massive regional market makes Bangladesh an attractive investment destination.

Bangladesh is ready to offer from its 100 Economic Zones, one exclusively for American companies, and also invites US investment in its 28 High-Tech Parks.

We are constantly improving our physical, legal and financial infrastructures, and also connectivity as with Padma Bridge, Dhaka Metro-Rail etc.

It is to be noted that Bangladesh has the most liberal investment policy in South Asia and that foreign investment is protected by acts of parliament and bilateral treaties.

Bangladesh recognizes US’s energy sector cooperation and investment, which has contributed in building our power generation capacity, now over 25,000 Megawatt.

We are also looking forward to US investment in renewable energy.

Our ICT sector is growing fast now with a billion-dollar export to 60 countries, with US being the top destination.

The ICT industry is expected to grow nearly five folds to reach Five-Billion Dollar mark by 2025.

With more than 600,000 free-lance IT professionals, Bangladesh is the right place to invest in ICT sector.

The demographic dividend, and our focus on developing skilled manpower ensures that investors here get skilled human resources at competitive wages.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In the post-COVID-19 economic recovery, mutual cooperation and collective efforts are essential to attain shared prosperity.

I assure Bangladesh Government’s whole hearted support to expand economic partnership between our two nations.

We also expect that the Business Council would convince the US Government to undertake favorable economic and trade policies for Bangladesh.

We consider this Council as an important partner in fulfilling our core undertaking of improving our people’s lives.

I conclude here by wishing the US-Bangladesh Business Council all success in the days ahead.

I thank you all.