The expatriate members of the Bangladesh community, most of whom are well-established businessmen, launched their first ever Chamber in Hong Kong on 1st March 2017 through a gala event.

The event was attended by high level representatives of different government departments in Hong Kong, the Consuls General and representatives from the Consulates, representatives of different chambers, business leaders, bankers, financial institutions, and a good number of members of the community.

The Commerce Minister, Mr. Tofail Ahmed, M.P. attended the event as the ‘Chief Guest’, who gave an illuminating speech.

Apart from the Commerce Minister, the event was also addressed by the Consul General of Bangladesh in Hong Kong, Mr. Mohammad Sarwar Mahmood, the President, the “Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry Hong Kong (BCCI-HK)”, Mr. Ikram Ahmed Khan, General Secretary, BCCI-HK, Mr. Ali Mohammed Yousuf, the Commissioner, “Belt and Road Office” of Hong Kong SAR, Ms. Yvonne Y.P. Choi, GBS, JP, the Under Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development of Hong Kong SAR, Mr. Godfrey Leung King Kwok, JP.

The Commerce Minister, Mr. Tofail Ahmed, M.P. narrated about the current strength of the Bangladesh economy by focusing upon the GDP growth rate of 7.11%, size of exports of US$34 Billion, Foreign Exchange reserves of US$ 32 Billion, etc. Mentioning that Bangladesh has made remarkable progress in short period in raising incomes, improving social indicators and has been upgraded as a “Lower Middle-Income Country” by World Bank, he said that the country is on right track to fetch exports to the value of US$50 billion by 2021, when Bangladesh would be transformed into a “Middle-Income Country”. The country has been classified as a "Next Eleven" emerging market and one of the "Frontier Five" emerging economies in the world by Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan respectively.

The Commerce Minister also said Bangladesh is a market of 163 million consumers, abundant cheap skilled labor, inexpensive cost of transportation, with a home grown entrepreneur class, a politically stable environment with a government committed to welcoming investment. While touching upon the foreign investment climate prevailing in Bangladesh, the Commerce minister insisted that the current government under the visionary and dynamic leadership of Sheikh Hasina, has been able to put up in place the right environment and attractive incentive packages and continuously striving to further improve upon the existing infrastructure and logistics. He added in order to stimulate rapid economic growth, particularly through industrialization, the government adopted an ‘Open Door Policy’ to attract foreign investment to Bangladesh, the government started the construction of 100 “Economic Zones (EZs)” in addition to the existing “Export Processing Zones (EPZ)”. He touched upon the facilities enjoyed by the investors in the EZs and EPZs, which are as under: a liberal regulatory environment, characterised by the allowance of 100 per cent foreign equity, unrestricted exit policy, full repatriation of dividends and capital and remittance of royalties, corporate tax holidays ranging from five to seven years, etc.

Having said all the above positive sides about the Bangladesh economy, the Commerce Minister urged the importers from Hong Kong to enhance exports from Bangladesh, and made a passionate call to the investors to take advantage of the investment-friendly climate of Bangladesh and expand their investment in the country rapidly.

In his speech, the Consul General of Bangladesh in Hong Kong, Mr. Mohammad Sarwar Mahmood said that Bangladesh is marching ahead under the current government headed by the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. He said during last seven years, the size of the economy doubled, the foreign currency reserves quadrupled and Bangladesh consistently experienced average GDP growth rate of more than 6 percent over the past two decades. Mentioning that the Bangladesh textile industry is the second-largest in the world, he said other key sectors including leather and leather products, Jute and Jute goods, Agricultural products, pharmaceuticals, Engineering products, small freighters and ocean-going tugboats, information technology, have also been growing rapidly. He further said after successful completion of the ‘Millennium Development Goals’ (MDGs) in which Bangladesh has been acclaimed as a ‘role model’, it is now committed to the objectives and realization of the ‘Sustainable Development Goals’ (SDGs) adopted by the United Nations General Assembly. He also emphasized on the present Government’s ‘Vision 2021’ and ‘Vision 2041’ to make Bangladesh into a middle-income and a developed country respectively. He insisted the country of 163 million people is characterized by a vibrant domestic consumer market Bangladesh is a largely homogeneous society with no major internal or external threats and a population with great resilience in the face of adversity. He said Bangladesh, with its sustained robust economic growth and lucrative investment climate, is well poised to host investments from Hong Kong and other parts of the world.

As far as China is concerned, the Consul General said that it is a very important development partner for Bangladesh, and it already joined ‘Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank’. Bangladesh attaches high importance to its relationship with Hong Kong, of which, 27 enterprises, are in the Export Processing Zones of Bangladesh. He also mentioned about the vibrant presence of a good number of entrepreneurs from Bangladesh in Hong Kong, who are contributing to the economic prosperity of Bangladesh. Mentioning about the positive investment climate prevailing in Bangladesh, he urged the investors from China and Hong Kong to invest in Bangladesh.

The Consul General in his address hoped that the “Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry Hong Kong (BCCI-HK)” would be able to promote the ongoing trade relations among Bangladesh, Hong Kong and China. Mentioning that enhanced trade and economic ties between Bangladesh and Hong Kong would entail tremendous economic benefits to both sides, he said the BCCIHK could play a pivotal role in this direction.

The Under Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development of Hong Kong SAR, Mr. Godfrey Leung King Kwok, JP for Commerce & Econ Development, in his address stated that Bangladesh is Hong Kong's 33rd trading partner. He wished the Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry Hong Kong (BCCI HK) a successful journey in the coming days.

In his speech Chamber President Mr. Ikram Ahmed Khan stated that establishment of BCCIHK cant be in better timing than now when “One Belt and Road” initiative, a significant development strategy launched by the Chinese government. He also sate that BCCIHK will act as bridge between all who wants to know more about Bangladesh, whether its about trade or investment or even tourism.

The Chamber General Secretary Mr. Ali Mohammed Yousuf express his gratitude to Chief Guest Hon'ble Minister, Mr. Tofail Ahmed, M.P., Ministry of Commerce, People’s Republic of Bangladesh for honoring all the Bangladeshi business community for attending the event.

Inauguration Ceremony Completed Successfully, 1st March 2017 on Now TV