British Business Group (BBG) recently organised a breakfast meeting to discuss trade between the UK and Bangladesh.
The meeting was co-hosted by Robert Chatterton Dickson, the British High Commissioner and Francois de Maricourt, the Chair of the BBG and CEO of HSBC Bangladesh.
The guest of honour was Mr Salman F. Rahman, Private Industry & Investment Advisor to the Prime Minister. The meeting was attended by members of the BBG who represent UK businesses interests in the country.
In his welcome address, Robert Chatterton Dickson noted that it was the first BBG event since the UK left the European Union (EU). He said that the UK was the third largest investor in Bangladesh and the UK was the third largest destination for Bangladeshi exports.
"As the Bangladesh economy grew, trade was an increasingly important part of the bilateral relationship. Now that the UK had left the EU it was a sovereign nation that could pursue an independent trading relationship with Bangladesh. The BBG would be a crucial partner in that relationship," Robert Chatterton Dickson said.
In his speech, Mr Salman F Rahman talked about the Government's initiatives for developing the private sector. He listed a number of things that would help business investment, including; improving revenue collection; modernising the foreign exchange regime; expanding the capital markets; and tackling problems in the banking sector. The Government was also exploring options for funding infrastructure investment. He said the Bangladesh economy was doing well but the coronavirus crisis was likely to set back global growth which would have implications for Bangladesh.
The BBG Chair, Mr Francois de Maricourt, welcomed Mr Rahman's plans for encouraging international trade. It was important for the Bangladesh economy to promote inward and outward investment. He said that UK firms were in Bangladesh because they recognised the business opportunities the country offered. He was a strong advocate of Bangladesh's trade potential and hoped that BBG members would work with the Government to ease the flow of business in the country. He added that Bangladesh offers significant business opportunities, with its economy growing at more than 7.0 per cent per year. British companies are here to support this growth.
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