Ambassador’s Message - Meeting with BIDA organized by CCIFB 20th February 2020
Ease of doing business: is Bangladesh ideal for investments, especially FDIs’
I) Our Bilateral Trade shows a record deficit in Year 2019
Our bilateral trade has reached in 2019 a record level of 3240 Million EUROS, the highest level over the last ten years, but our trade deficit has raised up to 2713 Million EUROS; our exports to Bangladesh (263 Million EUROS) have decreased by 21%, while Bangladesh’s exports to France show a 14% increase (2976 Million EUROS).
Bangladesh is in 2019 our third supplier of RMG & Footwear in the world, behing China and Italy, and represents 7.2% of our total imports (ahead of Vietnam with 5.9% and India with 4.4%).
Bangladesh is also in 2019 our second trade deficit in that sector (2555 Million EUROS), behind China.
II) Our FDI in Bangladesh remains still weak but several projects of investments still awaits official approvals.
In 2018, France was only ranked 29th on Foreign Direct Investment in Bangladesh, and 7th among EU member states, our stock stands around 40 Million USD, less than 0.4% of total stock of FDI in Bangladesh.
LAFARGE has been bought by the Swiss HOLCIM in July 2015 and is no more to be considered as a French investment.
SANOFI has announced in October 2019 its intentions to sell its shares in the pharma operation it has been operating in Bangladesh with the government.
Today, our main investor is TOTAL through its subsidiary Premier LP Gas Ltd which has set a state-of-the-art LPG import terminal & bottling facility in Sitakunda, Chattogram in 1998.
TOTAL Group is committed to expand its investments in Bangladesh but is facing difficulties in attaining approvals from the Energy & Mineral Resources Division, their subsidiary is yet to get the final approval on their operations after more than two years of efforts. An EMRD approval is also pending for LPG export towards neighbouring India and Auto LPG business despite many follow-ups and representation.
TOTAL Group has been trying in vain so far to invest in several solar plants through their subsidiary TOTAL EREN (Renewable Energy), and still awaits a decision from the concerned authorities.
In the meantime, European member states, through the EU delegation in Bangladesh, initiated with the authorities in 2016 formal discussions, through a forum called The EU-Bangladesh Business Climate Dialogue. The main initial goal was to promote more trade and investment from the EU to Bangladesh.
The last meeting held in December 2019 was not very much conclusive and one can wonder if it is worth maintaining working groups when so little progress has been achieved over the last 3 years, in terms of access to the local market, still protected by huge tariffs and taxes.