A business delegation representing the Council of Saudi Chambers (CSC) led by Mushabab Al Qahtani concluded two successful visits to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, in which the delegation held extensive talks with businesspeople and government officials from both countries on fostering trade and investment relations with the Kingdom.
In the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka, the Saudi delegation met with a number of government officials, led by Bangladesh Minister of Commerce, Tofael Ahmed, and Minister of Finance Abul Maal Abdul Muhith. Mr. Ahmed encouraged Saudi investors to explore opportunities in Bangladesh and take advantage of its stable investment climate, noting exemptions of custom duties which will facilitate Saudi exports to its market. He shed light on the ongoing constructions of economic cities in Bangladesh, which are of interest to leading foreign investors, offering to provide Saudi investors with all the advantages and facilitations to enable their participation in the development process in Bangladesh, including allowing withdrawal of capital and transfer of profits with interests.
For his part, Mr. Al Qahtani stressed the Saudi business community’s interest in fostering trade and investment relations with their Bangladeshi counterpart, expressing readiness to create trade partnerships that further elevate economic relations between the two countries.
The Bangladeshi capital hosted the Saudi-Bangladeshi Economic Forum, organized by the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce & Industries, with participation of businesspeople from both countries and the presence of Bangladesh Ambassador to KSA. The forum included a keynote address by Tofael Ahmed in which he encouraged Saudi investors to create a “special economic zone” in the economic regions in Saudi Arabia, adding that it is important to reduce the trade gap between the two countries by increasing and diversifying Bangladesh exports to KSA. He stated that during the fiscal year 2016-2017, Bangladesh exports to KSA were valued at USD 185 million, compared to USD 605 million of Saudi exports to Bangladesh.
President of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce & Industries invited Saudi investors to explore the promising economic sectors and economic regions in Bangladesh, which offer a variety of facilitations to foreign investors. He praised the Kingdom’s role as a main partner to Bangladesh in the development process as it hosts a large number of Bangladeshi laborers and is a main source of financing to Bangladesh’s economic endeavors. He stated that trade between the two countries were estimated at around USD 790 million last year.
The forum included signing an MoU between the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce & Industries and a Saudi company to create a solar plant (40MW-100MW) in Bangladesh. The Saudi delegation met with officials of Islami Bank Bangladesh to discuss cooperation and review activities and projects of the banks.
The Saudi delegation program continued on with a visit to Sri Lanka, where the Sri Lanka Chamber of Commerce organized the Saudi-Sri Lankan Economic Forum, with participation of businesspeople from both countries, and the presence of the Sri Lankan Ambassador to KSA. The forum included extensive discussions on creating trade and investment partnerships between the business communities in the two countries.
During his keynote speech, Chairperson of the Sri Lanka Chamber of Commerce noted the distinguished relations between the two countries, highlighting at the same time the capabilities and economic environment of Sri Lanka and encouraging Saudi investors to increase their businesses in it.
For his part, Mr. Al Qahtani stated that the delegation visit aims at exploring investment opportunities in Sri Lanka, increasing bilateral trade, and creating trade partnerships in various sectors with their Sri Lankan counterpart.
The meeting included an MoU signing between the Council of Saudi Chambers and Sri Lanka Chamber of Commerce on fostering trade and investment cooperation in various sectors and exchanging information on the latest opportunities in both countries. In addition to proposing suggestions to improve economic cooperation, increase business delegations, organize exhibitions that shed light on the two countries’ products, and increase exports.
The Saudi delegation program included field trips to a number of factories in Sri Lanka, specializing in tea, oil, natural medicines, and gemstones.