Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday called upon the business community of Cambodia to explore all the avenues to do business in Bangladesh.
"Let's be partners in the quest for the prosperity of our two peoples. Together we can bring a change in the lives of millions of our people," she said.
The prime minister was addressing the Cambodia-Bangladesh Business Dialogue at the Sofitel Phnom Penh Phokeethra Hotel. The Cambodia Chamber of Commerce organised the event.
She said the business community of Cambodia could also take advantage of Bangladesh's location as the hub of regional economic activities since the country increasingly gets integrated with the economic corridors of China, Myanmar and India.
"I'm sure Bangladeshi businesspeople will be equally interested in exploring business opportunities in Cambodia," she said.
On the agreement of cooperation between the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) and the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce, Hasina said she believes the institutional cooperation between the two chambers will be instrumental in augmenting mutual trade and investment.
Traditionally, she said, Bangladesh enjoys close commercial and other links with most Asean member countries.
The prime minister said Bangladesh finds itself as a `land-bridge` between South Asia and Southeast Asia, and it gives special emphasis on the expansion of trade and investment with Asean neighbours.
"Unfortunately, bilateral trade between Bangladesh and Cambodia, which is less than $10 million per annum, doesn't reflect the true potential. Our trade with other Asean countries is growing fast and I wish this to be replicated with Cambodia as well," she added.
She said Bangladesh has the most liberal investment policy in South Asia as it includes the protection of foreign investment by law, generous tax holiday, concessionary duty on import of machinery, remittances of royalty, 100 percent foreign equity and unrestricted exit policy.
"Other advantages include the young, industrious and easily trainable workforce with competitive wages, cheaper costs of establishing business and duty-free access to the markets of the EU, Australia, Canada, India, Japan and New Zealand," she said.
The prime minister said Bangladesh's success in the readymade garment sector is known to the world.
Like the RMG sector, she said, other sectors are making a significant progress.
"Pharmaceutical is such a sector. After meeting up to 97 percent of our domestic requirements, our pharmaceutical products are exported to 120 countries, including the USA and EU countries," she said.
Hasina said the industry is now equipped to produce bio-tech products and active pharmaceutical ingredients (API). "Bangladesh is fast emerging as a major global hub for high quality, low-cost generic medicines."
Hasina said the knowledge industry, ICT and related sectors of Bangladesh are also expanding rapidly. "Shipbuilding is another fast emerging industry in Bangladesh. Our builders have drawn global attention by making world-class light to medium size oceangoing vessels."
"We've also a very good opportunity in Cambodia. We can produce food grains and set up food processing industries in Cambodia," she said.
Cambodian Minister of Commerce Pan Sorasak, Bangladesh's Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali, Executive Chairman of Bangladesh Investment Development Authority Kazi Aminul Islam and FBCCI President Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin were also present.