Dhaka Chamber of Commerce & Industry (DCCI) President Rizwan Rahman called for the relocation of South Korean sunset industries to Bangladesh on Thursday.
He made the request in a meeting with Lee Jang-Keung, South Korean ambassador to Bangladesh, at the DCCI building in Motijheel of the capital.
Welcoming Lee to DCCI, Rizwan said there is a steady increase in bilateral trade between the two countries which currently stands at approximately $1.6 billion.
Of the total bilateral trade, Bangladesh's exports to the Republic of Korea recorded only $398.66 million in FY2020-21, while the cumulative stock of foreign direct investment (FDI) from South Korea to Bangladesh reached $1030.67 million, said Rizwan.
The DCCI president invited Korean investors to invest in leather & footwear, shipbuilding, pharmaceuticals, RMG backward linkages, automotive and infrastructure works, agro-processing, and the power and electronics sectors.
Furthermore, Rizwan proposed the DCCI and the South Korean Embassy work together to improve the business climate towards signing a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA). He invited South Korean entrepreneurs to join the B2Bs in the "Bangladesh Trade & Investment Summit" starting 26 October.
Ambassador Lee responded, saying trade relations between Bangladesh and Korea are indeed very close.
However, regarding the FTA proposal, he said South Korea already has FTAs with about 70 countries including China, Asean countries, and Europe. Once Bangladesh graduates from LDC status there can be an initiative for signing an FTA with South Korea.
Lee said South Korea is the 5th largest source of FDI for Bangladesh and most investments are in the manufacturing sector with 93% of Bangladeshi products getting duty and quota-free market access to South Korea.
He said there is also tremendous potential for South Korean investors in the pharmaceutical and ICT sectors here in Bangladesh. For more export competitiveness, he also suggested improving product diversification.
DCCI Senior Vice President NKA Mobin, and Vice President Monowar Hossain were also present at the meeting.