Seoul-Dhaka relations to reach new heights: South Korean PM

Dhaka, July 14 – South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon yesterday said the relation between Bangladesh and Korea will reach to a new height through cooperation in various fields of business and trade.
“I am moved and impressed by the development Bangladesh has made. It has been possible due to the incredible will of Bangladesh under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina,” he added.
He came up with his keynote speech delivered at the Korea-Bangladesh Business Forum jointly organised by Korea International Trade Association (KITA) and Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) at the Hotel Intercontinental in the capital.
Among others, commerce minister Tipu Munshi, industries minister Nurul Majid Mahmud Humayun, FBCCI president Sheikh Fazle Fahim and KITA chairman and CEO Young Ju Kim, spoke on the occasion.
In addition advisor to the prime minister on private industry and investment Salman F Rahman, MP, as well as distinguished business leaders from Bangladesh and Korea, were also present on the occasion.
Lee Nak-yon said Bangladesh has a huge potential for investment and the some of the Korean companies have already invested in Bangladesh.
He said Bangladesh has an interest of public private partnership (PPP) and relevant Korean has signed agreement on various sectors on the basis of PPP.
The South Korean Prime Minister said information and communication technology (ICT) is the core pillar of Bangladesh and it has established 10,000 educational centres where Korea is providing the ICT training.
He said Korea can assist Bangladesh in technological development.
About Korean Export Processing Zone (KEPZ), Lee said, “KEPZ is a catalyst for other Korean companies to invest here in Bangladesh.”
He also mentioned several projects where Korean companies are working like energy and deep sea gas field.
Lee said he would urge the Korean businessmen to increase the relations between the two countries.
Tipu Munshi said Korea is an important development partner of Bangladesh and both countries have collaboration in education, economy and culture.
“I believe Korean prime minister’s visit will open up new cooperation in all respects. Business cooperation will increase in the coming days,” he added.
“Bangladesh is ready to offer your expected products at a competitive price. To reap the benefit out of this visit, I would urge the Korean business delegation to visit our market and see what our market can offer,” he added.
Nurul Majid Mahmud Humayun said the ties between Bangladesh and Korea will be stronger in the coming days.
“Korea is a trusted development partner of Bangladesh. We urge the Korean investment, especially in the field of leather goods, energy and power sector, infrastructure development, textile, jute and jute products, deep sea fishing, ICT sector and ship building. South Korea is the seventh largest investor in Our EPZs,” he added.
“It is encouraging to see the continued growth of two-way trade. The Korean success in transforming Korea into a developed country within a generation, while keeping the democratic credential intact, inspires Bangladesh in its endeavour to steer the nation towards a middle income country by the year 2021 and a developed country by the year 2041,” he said.
He also said Korea is one of the most attractive manpower markets for Bangladesh under the existing Employment Permit System. “We hope Korean government will significantly increase the intake of nationals from Bangladesh so that not only remittance, but also lessons from Korea could also be routed to Bangladesh,” he added.
He said Bangladesh is one of the important partners of Korean development cooperation with which Korea works together closely on the basis of bilateral agreements.
Young Ju Kim said Korean companies are steadily investing in Bangladesh which is increasing the relations between the two countries.
He said Korean companies will work with Bangladesh in the field of ICT and construction areas in future. He said the visit of Korean prime minister will reach to a new height.
Sheikh Fazle Fahim said, “Out relations with Korea have been marked by dynamic partnership and exchange at the highest level since 1973. Prime minister’s Sheikh Hasina’s visit to Korea in 2010 renewed our bilateral cooperation.”
Recalling Korean cooperation through Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOIKA), he said, “It has been supporting Bangladesh in health, education, transportation and ICT.”
“As the sixth largest foreign direct investors, Korea companies have investments in textiles, leather and banking with total FDI stock of $1.2 billion till December 2018,” he added.
He further said, “Recently, Korean super petrochemical has proposed investments worth $2.38 billion petrochemicals which will positively contribute towards our investment relations.”
About the bilateral trade, he said, “The bilateral trade stands about $1.5 billion in the last fiscal year with export from Bangladesh worth $0.25 billion and import worth $1.27 billion. With duty free quota free market access to 90.4 per cent of our tariff line to Korea, bilateral trade prospects are promising.”
At the end both Sheikh Fazle Fahim on behalf of FBCCI and Young Ju Kim on behalf of KITA signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU).
About the MoU Sheikh Fazle Fahim said, “To strengthen our economic and commercial relations, this MoU will build our heritage of cooperation for targeted time bound goals for renewed sustainable engagement.”
Earlier, in the first session on ‘Korean government’s new southern policy and Korea-Bangladesh cooperation strategies’, Nabhash Chandra mandal, executive member of Bangladesh Investment Development Authority spoke on ‘Korea-Bangladesh Cooperation and Future Outlook’ while Lee Sun Joo, senior vice-president of Korean Telecom Corporation spoke on ‘KT-Bangladesh Partnership.’
In the second session on ‘Best practices of Korea-Bangladesh Cooperation’, Jahangir Saadat, president of KEPZ talk on ‘Best preatices on Youngone and Korean EPZ (KEPZ) while RyuChul Ho, regional director of Hyundai Engineering and Costruction spoke on ‘The bridge of mutual cooperation’ and Mohammad Enamul Kabir, Director of Bangladesh Computer Council spoke on ‘Korea-Bangladesh IT Cooperation.” – Staff Reporter