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BD, India pursue economic integration with neighbouring countries of South Asia 

The New Nation , Oct 17, 2020

LEADS 2020, a unique multi-faceted 4-day global thought leadership initiative, has recently organized a virtual conference to evolve a shared vision among global leaders, to reimagine economic growth with neighbouring South Asian countries.

The program titled, 'South Asia Session Reimagining Neighbourhood Economic Integration', invited stakeholders from 100 countries entailing Bangladesh, said a press release.

President of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) Sheikh Fazle Fahim, Indian Union Cabinet Minister for Textiles, Women and Child Development Smriti Irani, President of the Foreign Investors' Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and India Country Director of the World Bank Junaid Ahmad, among others, were present on the occasion.

In his speech, Sheikh Fazle Fahim said, "As you are all aware, from 1947 till 1971 through democratic movement milestones of 1952, 1956, 1962, 1964, 1966, 1969, the election of 1970 with 98 percent absolute majority in parliament in East Pakistan preceded by 1971 war of independence, where we emerged as an independent nation. During this long time, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman laid the foundation of our long proven humane relations with India, Bhutan, Nepal, South Asia, Russia, Germany, among other 150 nations. We are indebted to the people of India through their mandate to the then parliament for hosting 10 million Bangladeshis during our war of independence in 1971. I cannot emphasize enough on our inseparable heritage and humane ties in hearts and minds".

"Since 2008, we are experiencing shining examples of a positive trend for greater engagements and cooperation in culture, trade, investment, and sports; acknowledging challenges that contradict. Our leaderships' shared values for their constituent's sustainable growth is a reflection of our relationship on Thursday. During Covid-19 we saw our South Asian leaderships coming together virtually with a conviction for humanity beyond borders in South Asia and beyond," he further added.

Welcoming other nations to explore Bangladesh's designated EZs, SAARC EZ to maximize on SAFTA value chain he also said, "Our current bilateral trade stands at $10 billion. India's designated economic zones in Bangladesh have enabled prospects for more strategic investments which awaits execution. We may explore trade recovery on regional value chain initiatives ™ (RVCI) ™ with raw materials from our neighbours for our domestic industry, maximizing Bangladesh's production competitive edge, export to the region; and beyond that maximizing regional value chains with global implications based on shared resources and knowledge," he added.

Highlighting Bangladesh's success and development even during an unprecedented pandemic Fahim further stated, "We invested US$70bn+ to update our industrial ecosystem evident in infrastructure, 100 EZ, high tech parks, multimodal connectivity, and trade logistics by air, roads, rail and waterways, among other developments.

Moreover, tariff-non tariff facilities, policy frameworks for ease of doing business are underway to maximize the production competitive edge of Bangladesh. Our 160mn vibrant domestic market, 1.8bn South Asian regional market, DFQF to EU, India, China, Canada, Australia, APTA, etc. are complementary prospects with a shared value chain initiative."

"In the next normal, cooperation between us is not limited to bilateral or regional only but globally and beyond. Bangladesh's position in regional cooperation and beyond can serve as a conduit between East Asia, Southeast Asia, and South Asia and beyond," he added.

He further highlighted FBCCI's exhaustive engagements in non-fiscal and fiscal policy support, social and philanthropic initiatives, and goodwill gestures to multiple governments as private sector gesture supplementing govt. initiatives.

FBCCI's ongoing effort to regenerate the federation as the modern trade body, its initiatives with global partners to promote the business sector of Bangladesh by developing platforms like FBCCI Economic Applied Policy Research Center, FBCCI Alternate Dispute Resolution Center, FBCCI Tech Center, FBCCI Institute, FBCCI University; for emphasized engagement with global partners to open dialogues in availing mutual benefits were also highlighted, soliciting our neighbourhood's institutional partnerships in FBCCI Impact 4.0 initiatives.

Smriti Irani said, "It is time to reimagine economic integration in our region with the advent of the pandemic. The region has immense political, cultural, and interdependence as well as co-operation. It is our shared identity that can enable economic growth through investment opportunities such as manufacturing goods economically."

The President of FICCI said, "As neighbours, we can help each other to overcome any
crisis. A calibrated and systematic engagement with our neighbouring countries will help us to address socio-economic constraints while ensuring economic integration for economic development."

During the conference, Bangladesh's GDP growth and development were highly praised, followed by discussions of existing areas that need to be addressed.

 

 

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 LEADS 2020: Reimagine the World