Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)– Bangladesh Bank (BB) Governor Dr. Atiur Rahman has urged Indian businesses to utilize Bangladesh as low cost  manufacturing base to produce  goods for local, Indian, and global markets, taking into account favored market access for exports from the country.
“India, our closest large neighbor is partnering with us in promoting trade and investment linkages, with much needed investments in railway and other communication infrastructure,” the central bank chief said while addressing at a seminar as principal discussant on Friday.
The seminar was on ‘India-Bangladesh Relation: Regional Prosperity and Amity,’ organized by the Rastrabiggan Samity.
BB Governor Dr. Rahman also said cooperation in this area has much further to expand and deepen, including in developing new Special Economic Zones (SEZs).
“With demographic dividend of large pool of low cost labor force, Bangladesh is now a fertile base for massive volumes of new investments in the areas of manufacturing, infrastructure, education and technology, the governor explained.
He also said: “Under the dynamic leadership of our Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh is already a robustly growing developing economy steadily gaining in macroeconomic stability and external sector strength on transition path to a higher growth trajectory.”
Held at Senate Bhaban in Dhaka University, the seminar was attended by a large audience that included academics, experts and policy makers from various government and non-governmental organizations.
Regarding Indo-Bangla trade, the BB governor said Indian businesses can foster more extensive trade value chain linkages with Bangladeshi manufacturers, drawing from success example in the textiles trade sector.
“Deepening and widening of trade and economic cooperation in our region require major simplification and facilitation of customs clearance procedures in overland goods flows in the trade value chains, allowing cross-border movement of cargo laden vehicles. I look forward to the new regional transit agreement to be signed shortly as a key first step in this process,” Dr. Rahman noted.
Bangladesh’s seaports, land ports and rail or road arteries need major expansion and modernization for handling increasing cargo volumes of regional transit trade traffic, according to the governor.
Dr. Rahman welcomed the India’s vibrant IT, healthcare, education, training and other service sectors for taking advantage of Bangladesh’s large pool of relatively low-cost youthful tech savvy manpower to set up product research/design/development, world class tertiary education, training and healthcare facilities in Bangladesh, on joint venture or wholly foreign owned basis.
“Deputing renowned Indian scholars in the faculty of Bangladesh’s newly established Rabindra Biswabidyala, and in our technical universities will go a long way in reinforcing cultural bonds and in R&D cooperation between the two neighbors,” the governor observed.
Indian tour operators including travel spots of Bangladesh in itineraries of inbound tourists will likewise be mutually beneficial. “I am very heartened by the news of India deciding to facilitate visa procedure for visitors from Bangladesh.”
He also said Indian investments in development of sea port or land port and transport arteries in Bangladesh will greatly facilitate export and intra-regional trade flows.
“Bangladesh and India are already cooperating in strengthening Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Combating Financing of Terrorism (CFT) surveillance in our region; this will help promote a regional environment that both regional and external investors will feel more secure and safe,” the central bank governor informed the audience.
India-Bangladesh relationship born in mutual sacrifices from both countries in 1971 certainly deserves to be taken to new heights, the governor hoped.
Among others Dr. Gowher Rizvi, International Affairs Adviser to the Prime Minister, Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury, Information Adviser to the Prime Minister, Professor Dr. A. A. M. S. Arefin Siddique, Vice Chancellor of the Dhaka University, Barrister Harun Ur Rashid, former Bangladesh Ambassador to the United Nations and Professor Dr. Gyasuddin Molla, President of Rashtrabiggan Samity, spoke on the occasion.