Top Indian businessmen keen on Bangladesh SEZ
Fifty investors, including Tata, Birla and TVS groups, have sought a SEZ for joint ventures.
Dhaka: Fifty Indian investors, including the Tata, Birla and TVS groups, have sought a special economic zone (SEZ) to be set up in Bangladesh for joint ventures. A visiting business delegation of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) on Monday proposed that the Bangladesh government establish a SEZ for them to house joint venture (JVs) industries.
The reaction of Bangladesh government was positive about the proposal.
Commerce Minister Faruk Khan said: "I proposed to the Indian businessmen to propose establishing an SEZ in Bangladesh, because many Indian entrepreneurs have already expressed their interest to invest in Bangladesh."
"We want foreign investment now," Khan was quoted as saying by The Daily Star.
The team has already pushed for setting up a SEZ exclusively for Indian investors in separate meetings with the commerce ministry and the apex trade body, the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI).
They proposed setting up the SEZ at Chhatak under Sunamganj, a north eastern district bordering Meghalaya state.
"We have put forward the proposal both to the commerce ministry and the FBCCI. If Bangladesh government approves the proposal, 50 top Indian industrial conglomerates are ready to invest in the proposed SEZ," said Chitranjan Kapur, acting head of the delegation. Kapur also said all the industrial units would be operated as joint ventures if the SEZ is established.
"I cannot predict right now. But the total amount of investments might be Tk 1,500 crore," Kapur said.
"I think there will be no shortage of joint venture investors as many local businessmen are interested to tie up with Indian partners," Kapur said.
The Indian businessmen are interested in establishing the Indian SEZ at Chhatak because the area is very close to India's north eastern region.
"The Indian north-eastern seven-sister region is our targeted market. So we demanded the Indian SEZ be set up at Chhatak," Kapur said.
He said mainly engineering, manufacturing and processing industries will operate in the proposed SEZ
Kapur said 50 top Indian industrial conglomerates like the Tata, Birla and TVS groups have shown their interest in establishing industrial units in the proposed SEZ. "Bangladesh is also our targeted market," he added.
Kapur said the Indian entrepreneurs are more interested in tying up with Bangladeshi investors as the future of bilateral trade looks very bright. The recent trade volume between the two countries has been increasing; as a result, Indian businessmen are interested in investing more in Bangladesh.
Abdul Matlub Ahmed, president of India-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IBCCI), said a total of 100 acres of privately-owned land is available at Chhatak for establishing the SEZ.
"It will take four months to start the construction, if the government approves our proposal," Matlub said.
He said with the expansion of the bilateral trade and investments, tariff and non-tariff barriers in trade between the two countries will cease to exist.
The bilateral trade balance between Bangladesh and India is heavily in favour of India.
The data from the ministry of commerce and industry of India show that India exported goods to Bangladesh via formal channel worth $2.43 billion and imported goods worth $254.66 million in the fiscal 2009-10.
It is believed that the informal channels also witnessed similar transactions.
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