Japanese investors have expressed their willingness to come to Bangladesh to explore areas of their investment after their reluctance following militant attack on the Holey Artisan in Dhaka.
The interest was shown in a Bangladesh-Japan business-to-business conference held on August 03 and 04 in Singapore.
A high-level Bangladesh delegation, led by Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) chairman Kazi Aminul Islam, attended the conference.
This was disclosed at a press briefing held Tuesday in a city hotel organised by BIDA to disseminate outcome of the delegation's visit to Singapore.
Abul Kalam Azad, SDG coordinator of the Prime Minister's Office and Shubhashish Bose, commerce secretary, among others, were present at the briefing.
During the conference, the delegation conveyed what Bangladesh can offer for Japanese investors, the BIDA chairman said.
The government agencies will try to adopt best practices of Singapore with a view to improving the ease-of-doing business index and to attract foreign investment in the country, Mr Azad said.
"The Japanese are very much willing to come to Bangladesh," Mr Bose said adding that steps have been taken to regain their confidence describing the 'flexible investment regime' of the country.
As a least developed country, Bangladesh enjoys duty-free and quota-free facility in many countries and they can take the advantage of this, he said adding Japanese investors can enjoy the facility in their market by investing in Bangladesh.
To ease doing business in the country, the company act and the chartered accountants act would be amended, he informed.
Terming the delegation's visit as 'the first and important attempt' to regain the Japanese investors' confidence, Syed Nasim Manzur, who represented the Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) during the conference, said, the post-Holey Artisan fear has started to be overcome.
Earlier Bangladesh was not in the top 20 investment destinations' list of Japan, he pointed out.
"But Japanese companies now in the Asian region informed that Bangladesh has come to the 13th position due to global economic shift," he said terming it as an indication that they are willing to invest in Bangladesh.
He, however, stressed the need for continuation of exchange of such delegations.
Abul Kasem Khan, president of the Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI), said 56 per cent of the Japanese companies operating in Asia are concerned over wage hikes and they want to relocate their industries.
Japan annually invests around $20.0 billion in six Asian countries, he said adding, "If we can take the China-plus advantage, $2.0 billion Japanese investment can be drawn to the country."
The objectives of the delegation were to promote bilateral business between Bangladesh and Japan, experience Singapore's reform initiatives and networking with key policymakers and network with Singaporean investors to attract their investment in the country, according to a BIDA presentation.
About 38 Japanese companies, 24 Singaporean companies including Singapore Business Federation and IE Singapore and 55 Bangladeshi businesses attended the conference while eight focussed meetings took place, the presentation added.
Singapore is potentially a billion-dollar FDI (foreign direct investment) source and is a potential partner in expanding Bangladesh's global economic and investment outreach, the BIDA presentation said adding Singaporean investors' interest in Bangladesh is growing.
It recommended strengthening of economic partnership between Bangladesh and Japan, facilitating economic zone for them and ensuring further follow-up of investment missions to and from Japan to capitalise the experiences of the delegation.
The other recommendations included implementation of doing business reform actions, building partnership with key Singaporean government agencies and facilitating matchmaking with Singaporean businesses.