Diversify exports to bypass recession: Japan envoy
Bangladesh should diversify export destinations and products to ride out the impact of global recession, Japanese Ambassador to Bangladesh Masayuki Inoue said yesterday.
At a seminar on the "study of export diversification" by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in Dhaka, the envoy also stressed developing green industry to stay "strong in the recession period".
"In that sense, the jute industry ... is eco-friendly and is expected to achieve high potential growth in the future," Inoue said.
On how to increase foreign direct investment (FDI), he suggested Bangladesh take lessons from Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations).
Thailand, an Asean member, had conducted a large-scale FDI invitation campaign, which encouraged all Japanese automobile companies to operate there, Inoue said.
On Bangladesh-Japan bilateral business relationships, the diplomat said: "So far, Bangladesh could not have fully harnessed the opportunities of business with Japan."
"Therefore, I would like to request both public and private sectors to successfully to tap into the business opportunities," Inoue added.
Despite significant export growth in the last few years, the country's export basket is vulnerable as ready-made garments take up 76 percent of export earnings, Commerce Secretary Feroz Ahmed told the function.
Local exports are vulnerable also in terms of market diversification as only EU and US markets buy 79 percent garment products from Bangladesh, he added.
In a study titled "Potential Sub-sector Growth for Export Diversification in the People's Republic of Bangladesh", the Japan External Trade Organisation (Jetro) said jute and software industries could contribute a lot to export diversification.
In fiscal 2007-08, the country exported computer software worth $24.8 million of which around 64 percent went to the US and Japan.
Nobuko Suzuki Kayashima, resident representative of Jetro, was also present.