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Bangladesh and Japan Ink 8 Deals for Industrial and Defence Upgrades

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Bangladesh and Japan have signed 8 agreements and MoUs to strengthen mutual cooperation in areas such as industrial upgrading, defense, agriculture, customs, IT and cybersecurity, intellectual property, ship recycling, and metro rail. The agreements were signed on Wednesday (April 26) in the office of the Prime Minister of Japan, in the presence of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida.

Before the signing of the agreements, the two Prime Ministers held a bilateral meeting with top-level representatives from both sides.

This visit is considered extremely important due to the ongoing global economic slowdown, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Both countries will also discuss the issue of strong cooperation to overcome these crises and will also work together to enhance regional security, connectivity, and economic growth.

 

8 Agreement and Contract Memorandum

1. Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and Bangladesh’s Ministry of Agriculture signed a memorandum of understanding to increase cooperation in agricultural research and development, and capacity building.

2. Japan and Bangladesh governments signed an agreement on mutual cooperation on customs matters. Under this agreement, both countries will ensure the appropriate application of customs laws, prevention, investigation and suppression of customs offenses, and simplify and harmonize customs procedures to enhance cooperation between them.

3. Bangladesh’s Ministry of Commerce and Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry signed a memorandum of understanding on “Bangladesh-Japan Industrial Development Partnership.” The agreement aims to support Bangladesh’s efforts to develop into an advanced economy by 2041 through assistance to the government and private sector to enhance Bangladesh’s trade capacity and product diversity, and explore opportunities for joint industrial development between the two countries. The partnership will also facilitate research and exploration of the potential for mutual industrial cooperation.

4. The governments of Bangladesh and Japan have entered into an agreement to enhance cooperation in defense. Under this agreement, robust collaboration will be fostered in defense dialogue, exchange visits, education, training, courses, seminars, workshops, technology transfer, and other defense-related activities.

5. The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism of Japan and the Ministry of Road Transport and Bridges of Bangladesh have signed a memorandum of understanding regarding cooperation in the metro rail sector. This memorandum covers cooperation in metro rail policy, legislation, and regulations; technology for infrastructure, rolling stock, and systems; safety policy and management; and disaster resilience measures.

6. Japan and Bangladesh have collaborated to commemorate a partnership in the shipbreaking industry, infrastructure, transportation, and tourism sectors by signing a memorandum of cooperation. Bangladesh aims to acquire the necessary capabilities for the safe and environmentally sound recycling of ships by 2023 through the adoption and implementation of the Hong Kong International Convention for the safe and environmentally sound recycling of ships. Japan will provide essential support to Bangladesh in realizing this goal, including establishing facilities for treatment, preservation, and deactivation. The Hong Kong International Convention will aid Bangladesh in actualizing its objectives and receive maximum assistance from Japan.

7. Japan’s Patent Office and Bangladesh’s Intellectual Property, Design, and Trademark Department have signed a memorandum of cooperation as a symbol of collaboration. Within its scope, the agreement aims to enhance awareness and development of intellectual property (IP) rights and the IP system, including the establishment of information and discussion channels, fostering innovation in industries and development.

8. In the field of information and communication technology, including cybersecurity, Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Bangladesh’s Ministry of Posts, Telecommunications, and Information Technology have established a memorandum of cooperation. This agreement signifies mutual collaboration in the exchange of information and technology, ensuring cyber safety and security, and promoting advancements in the telecom and IT sectors in both countries.

 

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina met with Japan’s Emperor Naruhito before her meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. The meeting took place at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo on Tuesday, April 25th. This trip marks Sheikh Hasina’s return to Japan after three years, having last visited in 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic.

During this trip, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will be visiting three countries. After Japan, she will travel to Washington, D.C., in the United States, and then to the United Kingdom. She is scheduled to return to Bangladesh on Tuesday, May 9th, following the conclusion of her international engagements.

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Major American Corporations Eye Investments in Bangladesh: State Minister

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State Minister Ahsanul Islam

State Minister for Commerce Ahasanul Islam Titu announced on Tuesday (May 28) that major American conglomerates, including Amazon, Chevron, Coca-Cola, and Boeing, are showing keen interest in investing in Bangladesh.

“We are working to streamline the investment process for American companies, ensuring they can operate smoothly without any obstacles,” State Minister Titu told reporters following a meeting with a delegation from the US-Bangladesh Business Council at the Ministry of Commerce.

The minister highlighted that the discussion focused on simplifying investment procedures and removing any barriers that might deter new American companies from entering the Bangladeshi market.

A representative from Amazon attended the meeting, where discussions centered on the potential for Amazon to integrate Bangladeshi products into its global supply chain and enhance the local e-commerce infrastructure. “Amazon is looking into establishing a central warehouse in Bangladesh to facilitate regional and international product distribution,” Titu added.

The US delegation also explored opportunities in energy, digital payments, and startup sectors.

Titu outlined the primary goals of the United States-Bangladesh Business Council: improving market access for Bangladeshi products, facilitating US investments in Bangladesh, and strengthening bilateral relations. These efforts align with the government’s Smart Bangladesh strategy aimed at strategic growth.

Addressing concerns about some American companies withdrawing their investments from Bangladesh’s capital market, Titu emphasized the importance of welcoming international conglomerates. “If Facebook, Amazon, Chevron, Coca-Cola, and Boeing become involved in Bangladesh’s business landscape, it will significantly ease the country’s progress,” he stated.

Titu also mentioned Bangladesh’s scheduled graduation from the Least Developed Countries (LDC) category in 2026 and stressed the importance of securing market access in various countries within the next two years.

He assured that the government is committed to attracting international investors through policy support, emphasizing Bangladesh’s potential as a significant market with a stable government expected for the next five years.

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Bond Market Reforms Key to Investment Growth: Salman F Rahman

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Prime Minister’s Private Industry and Investment Adviser Salman F Rahman today underscored the need to bolster the country’s capital market to secure funding for investors.

“Globally, the capital market is the primary source for raising finance for investors. However, in our country, businessmen typically rely on bank loans for mid-term investments or expansion. We are working towards improving the bond market,” he stated.

Salman made these remarks following a meeting with an executive business delegation from the US-Bangladesh Business Council at the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) Bhaban in the city, sources said.

The meeting was attended by Board Chair of the US-Bangladesh Business Council and President and CEO of Excelerate Energy, Steven Kobos, along with President of the US-Bangladesh Business Council and South Asian Vice President of the US Chamber of Commerce, Ambassador (ret) Atul Keshap, among others.

Speaking to reporters, Salman mentioned the government’s efforts to safeguard the capital market from manipulation. “Share prices depend on the market. The government never interferes in this regard. The primary role of the government is monitoring,” he added.

He also highlighted the importance of institutional investors in strengthening the country’s capital market.

Moreover, Salman noted that US entrepreneurs have shown increased interest in investing in Bangladesh, recognizing the current government’s various development initiatives.

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PM Sheikh Hasina Seeks U.S. Business Support for ‘Smart Bangladesh’ Vision

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Sheikh Hasina

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today called on U.S. businessmen to support Bangladesh’s goal of becoming a developed and smart nation by 2041. Addressing a delegation from the US-Bangladesh Business Council at her official residence in Ganabhaban, she emphasized the importance of their partnership in this transformative journey.

“We aim to become a ‘Smart Nation’ by 2041. Your support in enhancing our global competitiveness and expanding our export base is crucial,” she said.

The Prime Minister highlighted Bangladesh’s imminent graduation from a “least developed” to a “developing” country in 2026, attributing this progress to sustained efforts over the last 15 years. “Our efforts have led to Bangladesh being recognized globally as a ‘Role Model of Socio-Economic Development’,” she stated, citing good governance, the rule of law, rural investment, women’s empowerment, and ICT advancements as key factors.

Sheikh Hasina noted the longstanding economic and developmental partnership with the U.S., which is Bangladesh’s largest export destination and source of foreign direct investment. She expressed optimism about further strengthening this relationship.

“To protect our economy from current pressures, investment—both domestic and foreign—is vital. The implementation of Bida’s One Stop Service (OSS) will facilitate this,” she said, addressing the OSS implementation progress review meeting at the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority’s (Bida) headquarters.

She urged the U.S. business community to invest in Bangladesh’s high-potential sectors, including renewable energy, shipbuilding, pharmaceuticals, and ICT. “We are establishing 100 Special Economic Zones (SEZs) and 28 hi-tech parks, making Bangladesh a prime destination for IT investments,” she added.

Highlighting Bangladesh’s competitive advantages, she mentioned the availability of a young, skilled workforce at competitive wages and the country’s liberal investment policy. She reassured investors of the government’s commitment to improving the investment environment.

In response to the Prime Minister’s address, Bida Executive Member Mohsina Yasmin presented a report on OSS progress, while NBR Chairman Abu Hena Md Rahmatul Muneem assured the business community of considering logical amendments to the Customs Act.

Sheikh Hasina underscored Bangladesh’s significant socio-economic achievements, including reduced poverty rates, increased life expectancy, and higher literacy rates, particularly among women. She noted that Bangladesh is currently one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, projected to be the 25th largest by 2030.

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