Breakfast meeting with H.E. Mr. Nazmul Islam, Ambassador of Bangladesh

Wednesday 14 February 2018

H.E. Mr. Nazmul Islam, Ambassador of Bangladesh visited Sweden Bangladesh Business Council for a breakfast meeting. It was discussed how the Ambassador in his new capacity can support our countries trade relations and what business opportunities he sees in Bangladesh.

There is currently a momentum in Swedish-Bangladeshi relations and Swedish and Bangladeshi companies should take the chance to benefit from this. There are currently 50 Swedish companies in Bangladesh and there are great conditions for that number to grow.

To support this, it will be important to tie close ties between SBBC, the Embassy in Stockholm and the Embassy in Dhaka, and ensure a constructive Aid to Trade transition by building on the Embassy and Sida’s local relations. Swedfund’s finance tool Swedpartnership is another excellent tool for SMEs to venture into Bangladesh – currently Swedfund have helped 10 SMEs into Bangladesh but they want to collaborate with more.  

The Bangladeshi market is developing healthily. The Government is establishing 100 Special Economic Zones in the coming years and the middle class of 50 million people is growing steadily. Large business opportunities exists within pharmaceuticals, shipbuilding, power generation, oil and gas, textile, ICT, healthcare, and agro-processing. There are also developing opportunities within renewable energy, water and waste management, and green buildings.

A lot of policy reform work remains to improve the ease of doing business. One key hurdle for more Swedish companies to establish themselves and export out of Bangladesh is high import duties. Bangladesh policies on export and import are not efficiently synchronized. Swedish companies establishment in Bangladesh creates a very positive impact on Bangladesh economic development. Their exports help to diversify the export basket in terms of products and trading countries, and drive sustainable business models which help the Bangladesh industry to climb global value chains and the society to develop socially by providing decent labour conditions.

The Embassy is open for companies to come to them with problems needing solving and will be able to forward their request to the right department in Dhaka. The next big opportunity which they look forward to support with is the business program organized by SBBC to Bangladesh in May, focusing on helping Swedish companies to find business opportunities within ICT, renewable energy and waste management. More information will follow shortly! 

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Report by Annie Ross, Business Sweden

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