Many garment, leather and footwear factories in China want to relocate production units to Bangladesh to utilise duty-free entry benefits allowed to exports.
The companies want to manufacture in Bangladesh and re-export the finished products to the world through Hong Kong, said Dannie Chiu, regional director for Southeast Asia and India of Hong Kong Trade Development Council or HKTDC.
Chiu highlighted Hong Kong as a sourcing and distribution hub in Asia.
“We are here to create opportunities, provide information and help match business partners for companies from Hong Kong,” she said at the programme co-organised by HKTDC and Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry, at the Westin hotel in Dhaka on Tuesday.
Bangladesh could expand its external trade through Hong Kong, which will help to get more foreign direct investment from China and other countries, she said. Hong Kong channelled $377 billion foreign investment through to other countries in 2013, she said.
There are enormous opportunities to expand Bangladesh's trade, and Hong Kong can be the bridge, said Mahbubur Rahman, president of International Chamber of Commerce Bangladesh.
“We should change our traditional approach and be more dynamic in dealing with trade issues,” Rahman said.
China and Hong Kong can invest more in Bangladesh to utilise benefits offered to foreign investors, as well as its duty-free access to many other countries, Subhasish Bose, vice chairman of Export Promotion Bureau, said.
China can relocate its sunset industries to Bangladesh to enjoy the general investment packages, said Hossain Khaled, president of DCCI.
“Hong Kong is a major sourcing and distribution hub in Asia and a gateway to world trade.”
China and Hong Kong rank as the first and 12th largest importing partners of Bangladesh and jointly account for $9 billion of the total import volume of the country, he said. Although bilateral trade shows an increasing trend over the years for both exports and imports; the total volume of trade is still very small and the balance of trade is in Hong Kong's favour, he said.
HKTDC is a statutory organisation with a mission to create business opportunities for Hong Kong's companies. It is the international marketing arm of Hong Kong-based traders, manufactures and service providers.
With more than 40 global offices, including 13 on the Chinese mainland, the body promotes Hong Kong as a business platform for trade with China and throughout Asia, according to HKTDC.