Bangladesh, Korea to collaborate on four projects worth $10b

FE ONLINE REPORT | Published: May 12, 2022 19:22:16 | Updated: May 13, 2022 09:10:31

Bangladesh, Korea to collaborate on four projects worth $10b

Bangladesh and South Korean private investors have selected four infrastructure projects worth over US$10 billion under PPP model, said Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on Thursday.

He said it while addressing a seminar titled "50 Years of Korea-Bangladesh Relations: Trends and Directions" held at Foreign Services Academy in the city.

“We are hopeful that South Korean private investments in our infrastructure sector would further improve our economic landscape to tap the potentials beckoning us beyond 2026” the minister added.

South Korea is one of the major trading partners of Bangladesh. The volume of our bilateral trade witnessed a record high in 2021 crossing $1.5 billion after almost 10 years of stagnation.

“We appreciate the South Korean government for preferential market access to Bangladeshi products covering 95 per cent of tariff lines,” he said hoping that the South Korean government would continue to extend preferential market access to our products even after 2026 so that bilateral trade may continue to grow with a favourable balance of trade between our two friendly countries.

The Republic of Korea is the fifth-largest FDI source country for Bangladesh with an accumulated FDI stock of over US$1.3 billion.

Although the Korean companies started investing in Bangladesh in the early 1980’s, mainly in textile and apparel sectors, Korean investors have now started investing in diverse sectors, including leather and leather products, consumer electronics, mobile phones, home appliances, automobiles, ICT, infrastructure.

Presently, more than 150 Korean companies have significant presence in Bangladesh.

The minister urged concerned public and private sectors of the two countries to work closely to further deepen bilateral cooperation for mutual benefits.

Dr Momen informed that Bangladesh is one of the largest recipients of the South Korean soft loan as a priority partner country for ODA.

He hoped that Bangladesh will remain a priority partner country even beyond our formal graduation to a developing country in 2026.

He also sought a special initiative by Korea to resolve the Rohingya crisis.

The foreign minister pointed out that Korea has some leverage on Myanmar and requested Korea to use the leverage to expedite the repatriation of Rohingyas to Myanmar.

 “On the auspicious occasion of the 50th anniversary of bilateral relations, we seek to elevate our bilateral relationship with South Korea to new heights, forging a deeper comprehensive economic partnership based on common priorities with long-term perspectives”

South Korean Ambassador to Bangladesh Lee Jang-keun and Bangladesh Ambassador to South Korea Delwar Hossain were special guests at the programme.

Addressing the seminar, the South Korean ambassador said the current geopolitical situation, to some extent, is creating more opportunities than challenges for Bangladesh and South Korea for closer collaboration.

"Companies have realised the risks from geopolitical confrontations and the necessity of diversifying their investment and partners. In this situation Bangladesh is increasingly becoming an attractive partner for Korean companies," he said.

The ambassador said that Korea is becoming a more and more attractive partner to Bangladesh for reducing or avoiding geopolitical risk.

The consequent disruptions in the global supply chain have put many countries in difficulty including Korea and Bangladesh, he said.

Bangladesh and the Republic of Korea established diplomatic relations on 18 December 1973.

The Republic of Korea remains a major development partner of Bangladesh since long.

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