Noting that Bangladesh has an investment-friendly climate, Saudi Investment Minister Khalid Al-Falih on Sunday said there is potential for more Saudi investment in Bangladesh.
During a meeting with Salman F Rahman, private industry and investment adviser to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina – now on a visit to the gulf country, the Saudi minister also stressed the importance of signing cooperation agreements or memoranda of understanding on specialised economic zone-based investments, says a press release issued on Monday.
Salman F Rahman apprised the Saudi minister of the steps undertaken by the current government to attract foreign investment. He also proposed to set up a special economic zone for Saudi investors as committed by the prime minister.
The Saudi investment minister welcomed Bangladesh's proposal.
Salman F Rahman made a request to the Saudi minister to finalise the draft memorandum of understanding (MOU) aimed at creating opportunities for Saudi investment in the public-private partnership arrangement.
If the MoU is signed, the opportunities for Saudi investment in various sectors including different infrastructures of Bangladesh would be widened, the adviser said.
Al-Falih informed Salman F Rahman that the draft MOU is in its final phase and expressed hope that it would be signed soon.
Attaching high importance on exchanging business delegations between the two countries, Adviser Rahman invited the Saudi minister to attend the international investment summit to be held in Bangladesh on November 28 and 29, which was cordially accepted by the minister.
Earlier on the day, Adviser Rahman called on Saudi Transport Minister Saleh Al-Jasser. At the meeting, he appealed for Saudi investment in the construction of the rail track from Dhaka to Payra seaport.
A MOU could be signed between Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia to increase cooperation in the transport sector, he added.
Potential areas such as skills exchange, training and cooperation could be explored under this MoU, the adviser said.
The Saudi transport minister assured him of all possible cooperation from his ministry.
Salman F Rahman also held a meeting with the delegation of Riyadh Chamber of Commerce on Sunday.
Saudi-Bangladesh relations have reached a new height after Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's official visit to Saudi Arabia from 2016 to 2019, he observed during the event.
New doors of trade and investment have been opened with Bangladesh, he added.
He further said that Bangladesh is committed to ensuring all sorts of cooperation for Saudi investors on a priority basis.
The advisor mentioned that there is immense scope for increasing bilateral trade between Saudi Arabia and Bangladesh and investment in Bangladesh.
Bangladesh currently has a trade volume of 1.3 billion dollars with Saudi Arabia and he further stressed on increasing the trade relations.
Noting that Bangladesh has a huge domestic market, the adviser said Bangladesh is still enjoying the GSP privilege in the European market which is allowing Bangladesh to have an edge in export earnings.
He emphasised the importance of bilateral visits and meetings between the two countries' chamber officials to enhance mutual cooperation.
He requested Saudi Arabia to increase collaboration with small and medium enterprises in Bangladesh.
In addition, the Saudi Federation of Chambers expressed its interest in the adviser's proposal for amending the MoU signed between the two countries' chambers of commerce in 2005 to make it more convenient.
Saudi companies present at the meeting, who have investment in Bangladesh, expressed their satisfaction with the investment climate in Bangladesh.
Dr Mohammad Jabed Patwari, Bangladesh ambassador to Saudi Arabia, was present at the meetings of Salman F Rahman.
Md Sirazul Islam, executive chairman of the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority, Shaikh Yusuf Harun, executive chairman of the Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority, and Sultana Afroza, chief executive officer (secretary) of the Public Private Partnership Authority Bangladesh, among others, were present at the meetings.
Business representatives from Bangladesh also attended the meeting with the Saudi Chamber of Commerce.