UAE-Bangladesh business relations set to receive impetus

In light of a recent meeting in Dhaka between a three-member delegation from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Salman F Raman, the private sector industry and investment advisor to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the business relations between Bangladesh and UAE are expected to pick up pace.
The UAE delegation expressed their interest in setting up businesses in Bangladesh and stated that they would be more than willing to guide and assist Bangladeshi businessmen who are looking forward to set up business or even explore investment opportunities in the UAE. The delegation was headed by Waleid Bin Abdulkareim, CEO of OnTime Group, along with Yasmine Khan, an LLM-international litigation and arbitration expert as a member.
Abdulkareim discussed the idea of introducing a business center for potential investors and entrepreneurs based in UAE with Salman F Rahman. This comes after the fact that OnTime Group recently bagged the permission of UAE government for the same. If successfully executed, the hub will prove to be a source of information to assist the investors and business associated individuals via direct coordination with the UAE Embassy in Bangladesh’s capital.
Salman F Rahman further helped the UAE delegation in discussing the plans regarding the hub acting as a source of assistance for Bangladeshi businessmen interested in UAE-centric investments. While appreciating the CEO’s efforts, Rahman ensured the delegation that he extends his complete support towards any measure that improves the access to investment and ease of doing business in Bangladesh.
Such endeavors will play a motivating role for other countries to observe the improving international relations along with the rising economy of Bangladesh. With sectors like textiles, pharmaceuticals, ceramics, energy, power, etc, there are substantial opportunities that await proper utilization in Bangladesh.



Premier foreign player participation to enhance Bangladesh Premier League


The Bangladesh Premier League is all set to begin from January 5 and people from across the globe are expected to tune in. This comes after the seven teams participating in the tournament have displayed the weight of their wallets and roped in some mammoths of international cricket.
Reigning champions Rangpur Riders will feature Chris Gayle (West Indies), AB de Villiers (South Africa), and Alex hales (England). Other names include Shahid Afridi and Shoaib Malik from Pakistan with West Indians Sunil Narine, Carlos Brathwaite, Kieron Pollard, Andre Russell, Sheldon Cottrell, and Evin Lewis.
Talking about the long list of players, Australian players David Warner and Steve Smith will mark their return on the pitch after one year, following the ball tampering scandal. While the former will play for Sylhet Sixers, latter will feature in Comilla Victorians. The two teams will play against each other on Sunday. This edition of BPL also features the return of Bangladesh’s Mohammad Ashraful after a five-year suspension.
David Warner said, “You look at the names in some of the other teams. They are not just here to watch me. I am just excited to be here and be a part of it. At the moment, the BPL is starting against the BBL, at home. After this you have the Pakistan Super League and Indian Premier League. Most players tell me that this is definitely up there with the best.”
The past editions of BPL have showcased a level of competition from its Australian counterpart, The Big Bash League (BBL), and 2019 is no different. Afghan superstar Rashid Khan, New Zealand’s Brendon McCullum, and England’s Josh Butler have elected play BBL instead of BPL. However, Warner’s dressing room will feature AB de Villiers and Sandeep Lamichhane, a Nepalese spinner. Both cricketers have preferred to play the Bangladeshi league.
Reiterating the money involved, salary limit for foreign players is fixed at $200,000. However, most of them have negotiated non draft individual deals, which has no limit. Though winning prize money is $240,000, commercial avenues are expected to yield good returns to every team.
The tournament starts on January 5, 2019 and will have 42 matches in total. Top four teams will qualify for the semis and the final game of this year’s BPL will be held on February 8, 2019. The dates will allow Australian players to return home, if needed for next series practice.

Bangladesh ups its fashion game with fashion show

Bangladesh is globally renowned for its Ready Made Garment (RMG) sector. Not just the fashion and style, the industry contributes nearly 80% to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In December, a fashion show on the 1st floor of Jamuna Future Park celebrated the opening of Rise’s fourth store. Rise is a famous Bangladeshi brand that deals in apparels.
The one-hour event was divided into two parts. While the first featured models wearing traditional inspired long skirts and Punjabi outfits, models in casual wears like denim and t-shirts stole the second half of the show.
Faheem Mosharraf, the 33-year old Chief Executive of Rise said, “ We take streetwear inspirations [from] all over, adding Bangladeshi traditions, Bangladeshi culture, Bangladeshi nationalism, and we integrate [them] into fashion.” Rise sells T-shirts that invigorate the nationalistic spirit among the youth on a level similar to that of their elders. The casuals feature English slogans like “Unity,” “Equality,” “Home is Dhaka” and “Dhaka made me.”
Faheem’s desire to minimize, and remove, the dependency on foreign labels excited him to contribute in every department- materials, design, production, and retail. Bangladeshi apparel sector registered 18.6% rise and corresponding earnings worth $14.18 billion in the July-November period of 2018. With his contributions, it will not be an understatement to say that Faheem Mosharraf is the quintessential example of the industry’s growth

US ambassador Earl R Miller wants to see more economic engagement with Bangladesh

The US ambassador to Bangladesh, Earl R Miller, has said that the USA will prioritize economic engagement as Bangladesh is now a major market with more than 170 million people. He quotes, “I hope to see more American companies engaging in Bangladesh and more Bangladeshi companies engaging in the United States.”
Ambassador Miller made this statement in front of several reporters at a regular luncheon meeting of the American Chamber of Commerce in Bangladesh (AmCham). The event was moderated by AmCham president Nurul Islam.
The ambassador to Bangladesh pointed out the success of US companies and US businesses in Bangladesh. He said, “We can do so much better. So, I look to work with the people of Bangladesh and the government of Bangladesh to bring in more trade delegations, more trade missions and more CEOs.”
He further added, “I’m very encouraged by the first meeting I had with the quality of the American Chamber of Commerce in Bangladesh with the quality of the American companies those already here. I want to double this number and triple this number.” Ambassador closed his statement with an enthusiastic ‘Joy Bangla’.
The United States of America has become a primary export destination for the South Asian country. Their two-way trade is valued at more than $7.47 billion per annum. The US envoy expressed his proudness on this arrangement. Currently, the trade is tipped more on Bangladesh’s side, as $6 billion were made last year in favor of Bangladesh.
The trade is predicted to boost even more in the future, keeping in mind that the US exports to Bangladesh were fueled by 100 percent year-on-year increases. The ambassador will remove unnecessary red tape and burdensome procedures that bring about corruption and hinder the trade between the US and Bangladesh.
Ambassador Earl R Miller acknowledged Bangladesh’s long strides in the international market. However, he raised the issue of scarce labor rights, which when resolved, will bring Bangladesh closer to economic prosperity.

Faridpur lights up with 2,000 solar lanterns

Hazarbighar Char Island in Faridpur lit up with 2,000 solar lanterns under the Zayed Sustainability Prize’s “Guiding Light” global campaign. According to the press release issued by the Prize, Zayed Sustainability Prize logo was revealed by the 20 x 20 meter light installation post sunset.
Approximately 1,847 people consisting of students, fisherman, shopkeepers, vulnerable women and children, and local community health center workers will receive the lanterns. It primarily targets the families that have minimal or deprived of the on-grid power access.
The Zayed Sustainability Prize is the UAE’s global award that appreciates creative and inspiring solutions for sustainability. The award was introduced after the humanitarian legacy of Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, UAE’s founding father. While Guiding Light campaign began in Bahrain on December 5, the next day was followed with an event in Bolivia.
Barua, a globally renowned businessman with a veteran’s experience in sustainable solutions, won the inaugural prize. Barua’s ultimate objective is to transform Bangladesh into a solar nation. In addition, he has been an international advocate for solar technology implementation as an attempt to bring a positive change in the lives of people that live in off-grid areas. As of now, 66 winners have received the prize.
The campaign will end with a final event in Abu Dhabi on January 9, 2019.

Bangladesh-Bhutan to sign SOP for trade promotion


In an attempt to strengthen bilateral trade and daily commercial movement of vehicles, Bangladesh is going to sign a Standard Operation Procedure (SOP) with Bhutan. Sources in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs revealed that the opinion of multiple ministries and their divisions was taken into consideration before finalizing on the SOP.
As reported by The Independent, a senior official said that the Royal Government of Bhutan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs sent a draft SOP to its Bangladeshi counterpart for approval. He said, “After receiving the draft SOP, the ministry of foreign affairs sent it to different ministries and divisions for seeking their opinion.”
The official added, “The draft SOP would be signed as per the memorandum of understanding on use of inland waterways for transportation of bilateral trade and transit cargoes between Bangladesh and Bhutan that was signed during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit to Thimphu last year.”
The transportation routes mentioned in the draft SOP include three distinctive ones: Mongla-Kawkhali-Barishal-Chandpur-Mawa, Aricha-Sirajganj-Chilmari-Daikhawa, and Chattogram-Chandpur-Mawa-Aricha-Sirajganj-Chilmari-Saikhawa. The document also includes a possible use of water, rail and road transport, subject to convenience. In order to divide the route load, sea ports like Narayanganj Port etc., will also be used.
According to the SOP, Bangladesh will decide on the fees and charges associated with the use of river port facilities and coastal ports aligned with domestic and international laws. This comes after the draft SOP’s primary objective of enhancing cross country commerce and trade, ensuring efficiency, credibility, accuracy, and transparency.
Samdrup Jongkhar, Gelegphug, Sarpang, Phuentshoking and Samtse in Bhutan and Monglahat, Noonkhawa, Daikhwa, Nakugaon, Haluaghat, Banglabandha, Burimari, Tamabil, Narayanganj, Gobrakurakoraitoli, Mongla seaport and Chattoagram seaport in Bangladesh will be the respective entry and exit points for cargo vessel’s crew members, as mentioned in the draft SOP.
The draft further emphasized that all the crew members on cargo vessels need to carry certain documents for hassle free entry in the contracting countries. This includes an authority reviewed permit with the individual’s photograph, passport/visa or employment certificate, and identity cards issued by concerned authorities of Bangladesh and Bhutan.

Japan’s investment prospect in Bangladesh


On Tuesday, Bangladesh ambassador to Japan Rabab Fatima spoke about the investment and business opportunities in Bangladesh. She highlighted the future prospects to investors and businesspersons of Nagoya while addressing a seminar held at Nagoya Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI). Nagoya, apart from being the fourth largest city of the country, is the automobile hub of Japan.
The seminar was organized by the Bangladesh embassy in Tokyo with the objective of increasing awareness among the entrepreneurs of Nagoya regarding the ease of doing business environment of Bangladesh. The event registered more than 80 business representatives of Nagoya as it was organized in collaboration with Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO), Nagoya Chamber of Commerce, and Nagoya City Office.
Ambassador Fatima highlighted the overall as well as individual growth of Bangladeshi sectors in the last decade and thanked Japan for its support towards the development of Bangladesh. She also shed light on the role and contribution of women in the industrial development along with other factors as the country’s efforts to achieve Vision 2021 and to become a developed country by 2041. Takashi Kawamura, Mayor of Nagoya City welcomed the participants and guests at the seminar supported by Japan-Bangladesh Committee for Commercial and Economic Co-operation (JBCCEC), Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO).
Talking about Japan’s involvement in the event, Masumi Okamoto, the representative of JICA explained the company’s projects in Bangladesh and described the current economic conditions. While Tsutomu Hashimoto of Sumitomo Corporation described the company’s business experience in Bangladesh, senior vice president of Bangladesh Honda Pvt Ltd (BHL), Kazuya Hashi elaborated the company’s expansion process in the country. Furthermore, the opportunities, risks, and facilities associated with doing business in Banlgadesh were explained with the help of a presentation given by the representative of JETRO, Dhaka, Taiki Koga.
A short documentary on Bangladesh’s economic advancement was screened during the fifth development and investment seminar organized by the Bangladesh embassy in this year.