Japanese cos keen to invest $1b at EZ

Around 100 reputed companies of Japan, such as automakers Suzuki Motor Corp. and Mitsubishi Corp., plan to invest about US$1 billion in the Japan Economic Zone (EZ) at Araihazar in Narayanganj district.

The Araihazar industrial park, which is likely to be operational by 2022, seeks new investments from automakers like Suzuki Motor Corp. and Mitsubishi Corp., according to Japanese Embassy in Bangladesh

Japan Tobacco Inc. and Honda Motor Co. are among the largest Japanese investors in Bangladesh so far.

 “Last year, I said that Araihazar should have investment of about $1 billion by 100 companies . I  really hope, Araihazar will attract that level of investment,” said Japanese Ambassador to Bangladesh Naoki  Ito recently.

Naoki  said that Japan-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce & Industry (JBCCI) should concentrate on three areas to boost the business ties between Bangladesh and Japan and fulfil the vision 2041 for Bangladesh to reach the status of a developed nation.

The three areas included BIG-B (Bay of Bengal Industrial Growth Belt) concept and connectivity of Bay of Bengal area for further development of infrastructure and development of soft infrastructure, which is improvement of business climate (ease of doing business index).

It also included initiating new framework of trade that is Free Trade Agreement (FTA) or Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA)) between Bangladesh and Japan.

Naoki laid emphasis on setting up the Araihazar Economic zone on time and human resource development.

Bangladesh occupies a geographically strategic location linking South Asia and Southeast Asia and a 177.77 billion-taka ($2 billion) deep-sea port on the Matarbari Island is part of Japan’s geopolitical strategy. One of the world’s most populous countries, Bangladesh has 160 million people residing in a land area that’s just about 40 percent of Japan.

The South Asian economy, which grew at an estimated 5.2 percent in the year ended June, sees 7.4 percent expansion in the current financial year. While that’s slower than the 8.2 percent pace it previously forecast, it still puts the nation ahead of regional peers on the growth metric.

The country nestled between India and the Bay of Bengal is a destination with “good and strong” prospects for Japanese companies, Ito said, adding “The pace of recovery is faster in Bangladesh, compared to that of the neighboring countries.”