Thanks to its burgeoning economy, Bangladesh is becoming an increasingly attractive destination for UK investors, said Rushanara Ali, a Bangladeshi-origin British parliamentarian.
Many British companies now want long-term engagements with Bangladesh, she said while talking to a group of journalists on bilateral trade, at the British High Commission in Dhaka recently.
During her second visit to Bangladesh as a UK trade envoy in less than a year, she said, for instance, a British company expressed interest to expand infrastructure of Osmani International Airport in Sylhet, the birthplace of Rushanara.
The members of her high-powered business delegation are also willing to work in Bangladesh’s railway sector, she said.
British experts can also extend assistance to the existing transport initiatives key to the country’s continued growth and productivity, she said.
Bangladesh is considered an important business partner for Britain and the British government has gradually increased export finance support for UK businesses and their buyers in Bangladesh by over 400 percent to £625 million from £150 million, she said.
That means nearly £500 million has been reserved from existing funds worth £50 billion aimed at helping UK exporters reach the world on getting access to the best quality British goods and services, said Rushanara.
She led the delegation to generate more bilateral trade through discussions with government high-ups and private sector businessmen.
Currently, over 200 British companies have operations in energy, power generation, oil and gas and financial services in Bangladesh.
Bangladesh’s exports will continue to enjoy duty-free benefits to the UK even after Brexit comes into effect, and so trade will grow even more, she said.
On the burning Rohingya issue, she said her government has already started working to gather opinion against the Myanmar military’s atrocities.
She said not only the civilian government but also the Myanmar military should be made accountable for killing Rohingyas.
Regarding safety and security measures at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport, she said there has been laudable progress in attempts to lift the ban on direct cargo flights from Dhaka to the UK.
Ali said she has already raised the ban issue with her prime minister.
In bilateral trade, Bangladesh is important to the UK and very much vice versa as the European nation is its third largest export destination after Germany and the US, she said.
In fiscal 2016-17, Bangladesh exported goods worth $3.57 billion to the UK and imported goods worth $330 million.