Staff Correspondent: About 70 percent of the Japanese companies in Bangladesh want to expand their business in the next one to two years as their confidence has improved, said Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) Country Representative D Arai yesterday.
“About 270 Japanese companies are operating their business in Bangladesh. Even after the Holey Artisan incident in 2016, no single Japanese company withdrew business from the country,” said the JETRO country representative for Dhaka at a press conference at JETRO office in the city.
Japan Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JBCCI) organised the press conference, titled “Current Trend of Japanese Companies in Bangladesh”.
D Arai, also the JBCCI president, said the Japanese investors are looking for an alternative destination like Bangladesh, pulling back their investments from China for the high wages and production cost.
He said the Japanese investors are showing keen interest to invest in Bangladesh as the wages in the country is lowest among the Asian and Oceania countries as well as one of the lowest production cost in the region.
“Garment sector wages of the workers in China is four times higher than Bangladesh, so Japan wants to shift its companies to other countries, including Bangladesh,” he added. Next year, he said nearly 70 percent local employees will be increased in the Japanese companies as the government has taken various initiatives to increase skilled manpower. D Arai informed that the development of Japanese EZ in Araihazar is likely to complete within 2020 as the land acquisition has already been finished.
He said the Japanese investors are showing keen interest to invest in various sectors, including IT and infrastructure.
He also identified some risk and problems which are creating barrier in the way of expanding business in Bangladesh.
The risk and problems are lack of infrastructure, weakness of governance and compliance, taxation system and lack of skilled workforce.
The JETRO country representative urged the authorities concerned to take necessary steps removing the risks of investment and make the country more investment friendly.
He also called upon the government to take more steps for reducing the days required from the arrival of freights at the seaport or airport as the time is higher than the other Asian and Oceania countries.
Among other, JBCCI Vice President Shariful Alam, Director Masud Karim, Adviser Akhtaruzzaman and Honorary Executive Director Dr AKM Moazzem Hussain were present.
Shariful Alam said Japanese investment in Bangladesh so far is around US$326 million until June of this year and the Japanese ODA is about $12 billion for Bangladesh while $7 billion has already disbursed.
He believed that the Japanese government is continuing its contribution for Bangladesh’s development and many Japanese companies will also come to run business in the country.
Akhtaruzzaman said if there is a good election, many Japanese companies will come to invest in the country as many of them have already completed their study for opening business in Bangladesh.