FT Online

Published:
2019-04-10 11:02:00 BdST

Bangladesh to become “preferred destination” for Swiss businesses


Assistant State Secretary for Asia-Pacific of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland Ambassador Raphael Nageli.

Switzerland has said Bangladesh will become a “more preferred destination” for Swiss businesses in the future with further improved infrastructures and energy supply, regulatory predictability, legal security and the rule of law.

“Potential investors sometimes find it challenging to venture into Bangladeshi market in terms of ease of doing business,” Assistant State Secretary for Asia-Pacific of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland Ambassador Raphael Nageli told UNB in an interview.

He, however, said Bangladesh has taken up several initiatives in recent years to draw foreign investments.

During their recent visit to Bangladesh, Ambassador Nageli and his delegation members have had “fruitful discussions” with various government agencies regarding these issues.

Responding to a question, he said he is aware of the potentials the Bangladeshi economy offers to the new investors.

“In order to take our economic relations to the next level, the two countries need to identify newer areas of cooperation, including the expansion of trade baskets,” he said.

The economic relations between Bangladesh and Switzerland, according to him, are growing rapidly and the bilateral trade volume has almost tripled since 2010.

Ambassador Nageli said investments and reinvestments from the Swiss companies operating in Bangladesh are also increasing regularly.

He said they held an exchange with Bangladeshi authorities to promote trade and investment relations between Switzerland and Bangladesh.

As a country, Ambassador Nageli said, Switzerland has a strong focus on innovation and R&D. “In this area, I see huge potentials for collaboration between the businesses of the two countries.”

He laid emphasis on identifying new areas of economic cooperation -- hi-tech, clean-tech, renewable energy etc. - where the two countries can mutually benefit.

Ambassador Nageli said the Swiss cooperation strategy for Bangladesh is largely aligned with Bangladesh’s priorities for SDGs and country priorities.

Under this strategy, he said, Switzerland will continue to promote human and social capital development in this country as well as the voice and rights of particularly poor and disadvantaged women and men for improving their wellbeing and equal participation in society.  

Bangladesh and Switzerland held the fourth edition of biennial political consultations in Dhaka on April 2.

The main purpose of Ambassador Nageli’s visit was to participate in the meeting and lead the Swiss delegation.

Apart from taking stock of the current state of affairs of bilateral relations, the two countries discussed ways to further strengthen bilateral cooperation in the areas of politics, economy and international cooperation during these discussions.

Evaluating the relations between Switzerland Bangladesh, Ambassador Nageli’s said the bilateral relations between Switzerland and Bangladesh are very friendly, historic and deeply rooted.

Humanitarian assistance and development cooperation were the corner stones of bilateral relations in the early days of bilateral relations, he said.

“The economic relations have grown considerably in the last 10 years. I’m absolutely confident that the multifaceted cooperation and partnership bonds between Switzerland and Bangladesh will be further strengthened in the days to come,” Ambassador Nageli said.

Responding to another question, he said Swiss Development Cooperation is still the strongest pillar in bilateral relations which are guided by partnership, solidarity and humanitarian values.

As a longstanding and reliable development partner of Bangladesh, he said, Switzerland is providing assistance in key sectors of poverty alleviation and rural development, including income and economic development, democratic governance and safer migration.

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