British high commissioner to Bangladesh Robert Chatterton Dickson on Wednesday said Bangladesh and the United Kingdom can develop a stronger, long-term trade relationship overcoming various challenges in the days ahead, reports UNB.
"We have a very strong feeling that we can do much more in the coming days," he said, highlighting the systematic challenges that UK companies face in their efforts to invest in Bangladesh. Bangladesh's 168th position at the Ease of Doing Business index explains some of the challenges. They include regulatory uncertainties, complying contracts, dealing with bureaucracy, problems in coordination between different government agencies.
The high commissioner was talking to journalists at his residence, a day after the first ever UK-Bangladesh Trade Dialogue. Dickson led the UK side and Commerce Secretary Md Jafar Uddin led Bangladesh side at the Dialogue held at the Commerce Ministry.
Bangladesh-UK relations can significantly be increased in the coming days as the British companies are keen on investing here amid Bangladesh's continuous economic growth, availability of human resources and entrepreneurial spirit of the youth.
The High Commissioner said the two countries have a strong political commitment to strengthen their relations. They will hold meetings at the working group level and assess the progress at the end of the year.
The bilateral trade between the two countries now stands at £3.4 billion, with Bangladesh's exports to UK worth £2.8 billion. UK will continue to provide GSP facilities to Bangladesh until 2027, i.e. for three years following the country's graduation from the LDCs in 2024.
At least nine British universities want to set up campuses and bring world class education to young Bangladeshis. The UK is also expecting about 10 British companies to invest in the financial, IT and healthcare sectors of Bangladesh in the next few years.
The UK is also framing a policy to allow professionals from all over the world to work in the UK, creating opportunities for the Bangladeshis too.
On Tuesday, the day before the trade dialogue, the British high commissioner said the UK is committed to working with Bangladesh to create a trade and investment relationship that helps both of economies grow.
"Foreign investment can provide jobs, transfer skills and generate revenue. A conducive business environment and removal of market access barriers can benefit both countries," he said.
The UK and Bangladesh agreed to develop a future trade partnership that will increase mutual prosperity and further Bangladesh's economic development as it graduates from Least Developed Country status.
Both countries agreed to improve the trading relationship through a mutual commitment to private sector led growth, encouraging investment, and addressing barriers to trade faced by their companies when exporting goods and services.
The UK and Bangladesh discussed cooperation in areas such as GSP, LDC Graduation, investment cooperation, access of Bangladeshi professionals to UK service sectors, trade facilitation, ease of doing business, financial sector development, higher education provision, taxation issues and intellectual property protection.
"This dialogue will pave the way for our products, services and professionals to penetrate the UK market and contribute to increased investment in Bangladesh and expand our exports," said the Commerce Secretary.