Bangladesh requested Oman to pursue the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) for DFQF market access for Bangladeshi products, foreign ministry said on Tuesday.
The GCC is a coalition of six gulf countries including Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman.
“As a GCC member, Oman applies 5.0 per cent customs duty for rest of the world including Bangladesh. Although Oman individually can’t offer any tariff preference to Bangladesh, Oman can pursue GCC for DFQF market access to some of our products” said Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen.
He was speaking at a webinar titled “Bangladesh-Oman Bilateral Trade & Investment: Challenges and Opportunities”, organised by the Bangladesh Embassy in Muscat on Monday evening.
Dr Momen said, the two countries could explore the possibility of concluding a bilateral Preferential Trade Agreement or Free Trade Agreement to maximise the available synergies in trade for mutual benefit.
The minister also proposed forming a ‘Bangladesh-Oman Business Forum’ to explore and strengthen business cooperation between the two countries.
Over the last decade, bilateral trade between Bangladesh and Oman has grown but at a low space, and there is more scope to expand and diversify the bilateral trade items, he told the meeting.
Dr Momen also proposed frequent exchange of trade delegations at official and private levels should be encouraged to expand areas of trade and strengthen bilateral trade.
Both Bangladesh and Oman can participate in trade fairs held in each other’s capitals on a regular basis to familiarise and popularise products, he said.
Urging Oman entrepreneurs to invest in Bangladesh he said, Bangladesh has prepared the ground for foreign investment with investment friendly policies as well business climate.
“It has put investment regulatory laws in place like- Private Investment (Promotion and Protection) Act-1980, which ensures legal protection and non-discriminatory treatment for foreign investors”
“As part of its liberal policy regime, Bangladesh offers various incentives like tax holiday, tax exemption, and waiver of import duties, capital repatriation, ease of profit, investment opportunities in stock-market for foreigners, and other preferential benefits.”
Dr Momen mentioned that the government has taken active steps to improve the business
climate by enhancing connectivity through infrastructure build-up and improve the ranking of Ease of Doing Business and One-stop Service for foreign investors.
“The government has taken initiatives to establish 100 Economic Zones in addition to the existing Exclusive Economic Zones. As part of its digitalisation process, several High-Tech Parks for IT industries are underway. It may be noted that over 800 IT companies are now thriving in the country with an exposure to the international market.”
Bangladesh is ready to offer “Exclusive Economic Zone’’ and Hi-Tech Parks for Omani investors, he added.
“Oman can invest in hotel, residence and shopping complex building projects in the hi-tech parks located across the country. Ready lands are available in Dhaka and Sylhet for investment. Bangladesh is willing to provide dedicated land and space for Omani investors in the ICT sector in Bangladesh” the minister noted.
He also pointed out that Oman can also explore the opportunity to invest in the ‘Blue Economy’ sector of Bangladesh.
“Bangladesh’s blue economy presents a plethora of untapped opportunities, e.g., deep sea fishing, maritime transport, energy, tourism, etc.”
“We need collaboration with friendly countries, especially for access to quality technologies. In this context, Oman’s investors may consider investing in the maritime sector with their technological advancement for our mutual benefits.”