Japanese investment in Bangladesh's energy and power as well as infrastructure sectors is going to cater to growing domestic demand and facilitate the supply chain reconfiguration that holds immense growth potential, experts have said.
They said this at a webinar titled "Bangladesh-Japan Business Corridor: Stakeholders Dialogue and Way Forward" on Wednesday. HSBC Bangladesh organised it in partnership with the Japan External Trade Organisation (Jetro).
Salman F Rahman, private industry and investment adviser to the prime minister, spoke as the chief guest of the event.
He said Japan has been one of the major destinations for Bangladeshi goods. "The bilateral relationship between the two countries has also enhanced in other areas, especially in trade and investment."
Salman said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina views Japan as a significant ally and is deeply committed to improving the bilateral ties between the two countries that share friendly relations.
The government of Bangladesh will do its best to facilitate Japanese investment in Bangladesh, he added.
The Japanese ambassador to Bangladesh, Naoki Ito, lauded HSBC for curating a platform and content that supports closer connectivity between Japanese companies and Bangladesh.
Under the leadership of the new Prime Minister, Yoshihide Suga, Japan remains committed to continuously supporting Bangladesh's economic development, he said.
He also said investment worth $1 billion, to establish Araihazar Economic Zone, will attract lots of Japanese investment and the zone has the potential to be the best economic zone in Asia by overcoming challenges of business environments – such as tax, customs clearance and foreign remittances – as well as giving incentives.
Matthew Lobner, head of international and head of strategy and planning, Asia Pacific, HSBC, said: "HSBC's extensive global network offers unparalleled access to high-growth markets like Bangladesh."
"By leveraging our international footprint, we connect businesses to a network covering more than 90% of global GDP, trade and capital flows," he added.
An intervention session was moderated by Chief Executive Officer of HSBC Bangladesh Md Mahbub ur Rahman with the participation of Hikari Kawai, country general manager of Marubeni Corporation; Tetsuro Kano, country general manager of Itochu; and Tareq Rafi Bhuiyan (Jun), secretary general of the Japan-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
They said Japan has been a key trusted development partner in Bangladesh's growth story and the momentum is expected to grow exponentially in the coming years.
The two key sectors where Bangladesh is expected to witness significant Japanese investment are energy and power as well as infrastructure development, they said.
They added the government of Bangladesh has prioritised these sectors accordingly which will be the essential twin pillars to achieve middle- and high-income country status by 2021 and 2041 respectively.
A message from Fazle Kabir, the Bangladesh Bank governor, was also read out at the event.
Shahabuddin Ahmed, ambassador of Bangladesh to Japan; Sirazul Islam, executive chairman of Bangladesh Investment Development Authority; Paban Chowdhury, executive chairman of the Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority; Yuho Hayakawa, chief representative of the Bangladesh office of Japan International Cooperation Agency; Yuji Ando, Bangladesh country representative of Jetro and president of Japan-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Takasuke Sekine, head of global business of HSBC Japan; and Md Mahbub ur Rahman, chief executive officer of HSBC Bangladesh, also spoke at the occasion.