The Embassy of the Republic of Korea has released a video documentary on the history of Bangladesh-Korea relations during the past five decades focusing on the RMG cooperation and eying more success stories in potential sectors.
In the documentary, South Korean Ambassador to Bangladesh Lee Jung-keun said the two countries are now working closely together to make other success stories in other sectors in the coming years in the field of manufacturing, ICT, and infrastructure, etc, based on the success stories of cooperation in the RMG sector.
He mentioned that among all the partnership RMG cooperation has been the symbol and model of successful bilateral ties between Korea and Bangladesh for the past five decades.
The Embassy prepared this “very special” documentary as part of its preparation for the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations next year.
The role of South Korean companies in the beginning and growing phases of Bangladesh’s RMG industry, which became the world’s second largest RMG exporter, has been well known to many Bangladeshis. It has been the finest success story of the business collaboration as well as the close friendly bilateral ties between the two countries, said the Embassy on Tuesday.
However, the stories and memories of RMG cooperation between Korea and Bangladesh have been fading away over the years, it said.
Through the oral stories shared by the key figures who have been involved in the history of the cooperation, the documentary vividly revealed the true friendship between Korea and Bangladesh during the past five decades.
The RMG cooperation between Korea and Bangladesh started in 1978 when a joint venture was established a Korean company, Daewoo Corporation, and Desh Garment of Bangladesh.
Some 133 Bangladeshis recruited by Desh Garment went to Korea in 1979 and trained by the Daewoo Corporation for six months.
These people, upon returning to Bangladesh, played a key role in the birth of Bangladesh’s RMG industry by spawning the factories across the country.
In the interview, Rokeya Quader, the Chairman of Desh Group Ltd. and widow of the late Noorul Qader, founder of the Desh Garment shared a detailed story of the start of the joint venture.
Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi, who was a pioneer of Bangladesh’s RMG industry and the former President of the BGMEA, also elaborated his own experience in the Korea-Bangladesh RMG cooperation.
Kihak Sung, the Chairman of Youngone Corporation, the first foreign investor in Bangladeshi’s RMG industry and the largest Korean investment company in Bangladesh also shared the story of his business in Bangladesh, including the establishment of the KEPZ, Korean Export Processing Zone, in Chattogram.
At present, Korea is the 5th largest foreign direct investor in Bangladesh in terms of the volume of the accumulated stock investment and RMG sector accounts for more than 70 percent of Korea’s investment in Bangladesh which reached over 1.3 billion dollars in 2021, according to Korean Embassy.
The documentary also introduced several significant historical stories on the beginning of the diplomatic relations between Korea and Bangladesh, in particular the role of Ban Ki-Moon, 8th United Nations Secretary-General in the early days of the relations.
When the Republic of Korea officially recognized Bangladesh as an independent country on May 12, 1972, the recommendation of the recognition was drafted by Ban Ki Moon who was a desk diplomat in charge of Korea-Bangladesh relations on that time.
In December 1973, when Korea established formal diplomatic relation with Bangladesh, Ban, who was Second Secretary at the Korean Consulate General in New Delhi, visited Dhaka with Ambassador Loh Shin-young, who later became Prime Minister as well as Foreign Minister of Korea and met Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheik Mujibur Rahman.
The trade volume between the two countries reached a historic height in 2021 crossing 2.1 billion dollars after almost 10 years of stagnation, said the Embassy.
Both countries are now enjoying very close relationship and strong ties which is very promising sign to make continuous effort to further expand the bilateral trade and to diversify the relationship.
The documentary was first broadcasted in full via Ekattor Television on April 14th. The full video clip can be found at the Embassy’s Facebook and YouTube page.