Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)- Bangladesh has offered 40 industrial plots in export processing zones exclusively to Japanese entrepreneurs as they have been showing interest to invest in different emerging sectors in the South Asian country.

Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority (BEPZA) and Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) signed an agreement to this effect in Tokyo on Tuesday in presence of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

The BEPZA will reserve industrial plots at the Ishwardi, Mongla and Uttara EPZs for the Japanese investors. It will also allocate factory buildings to the Japanese investors in the Adamjee and Comilla EPZs where there are no vacant plots at the moment, a BEPZA statement said.

There are 35 Japanese enterprises worth an investment of $291.05 million in the EPZs alone, of which 25 are in operation and 10 are being implemented, the BEPZA said.

A total of 11,203 Bangladeshis, 78 Japanese and 55 from other countries are working in these enterprises.

The bilateral trade balance between the two countries is heavily tilted towards Japan, as Bangladesh imports vehicles, electronic goods and spare parts. On the other hand, Bangladesh exports apparel items, leather and leather goods, and footwear to Japan.

In fiscal 2012-13, Bangladesh exported goods worth $750.27 million to Japan, against $600.52 million in the previous year.

On the other hand, Bangladesh imported goods worth $1.19 billion from Japan in 2012-13 against $1.45 billion in the previous year.

BBN/SSR/AD-28May14-1:22 pm (BST)