Bangladesh is located at the pivot between two huge economic markets – South Asia and Southeast Asia.

The foreign minister said Bangladesh is also one of the most free-market, trade-oriented economies in South Asia.

“I believe a market of about 170 million consumers with a growing middle-class, higher purchasing power, easily trainable vibrant work force, and rapid pace of economic growth can make Bangladesh a friendly destination for Japanese businesses,” Momen said.

The networking programme titled “Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Japan-Bangladesh Diplomatic Relations” was organized by Japanese Commerce and Industry Association in Dhaka (JCIAD) and Japan Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JBCCI) at a city hotel.

Japanese Ambassador to Bangladesh Ito Naoki and Secretary General JCIAD and Country Representative JETRO Yuji Ando also spoke.

Momen said Japan has remained as a true friend and a trusted development partner in Bangladesh’s journey towards achieving stellar socio-economic development.

Japan has so far committed to provide support of more than US$ 28 billion as development assistance to Bangladesh in the forms of grants, loans, and technical assistance.

Bangladesh has already received over US$18 billion worth of assistance from Japan.

A large number of significant infrastructure development projects in Bangladesh have been completed or under implementation with Japanese financial and technical support, Momen said.

Dhaka Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) Projects, Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport Expansion Project, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib (Jamuna) Railway Bridge Construction Project, Matarbari Port Project, and Matarbari Ultra Super Critical Coal Fired Power Project, etc. are expected to transform infrastructure landscape upon their full implementation, he said.

Japan is the second largest export destination of Bangladesh in Asia.

Bangladesh’s merchandise exports to Japan have almost doubled in the last decade and reached over US$ 1.3 billion in the last Fiscal Year.

Japan is the 5th largest import source country for Bangladesh with merchandise imports standing at over US$ 2.0 billion; and the 12th largest FDI source country with FDI stock standing at around US$ 483 million.

“However, we are yet to exploit the true potential that exists between our two countries,” Momen said.

“We see further prospects of greater trade and investment cooperation in the areas of infrastructure, ICT, high-tech products, electronics, deep sea fishing and mining, high-end consumer and bio-tech products, renewable energy, skilled and professional human resource engagement for the mutual benefits of our two peoples,” he added.