German Business Interests and Opportunities in Bangladesh
Key Findings of the Joint Mission of OAV - German Asia-Pacific Business Association and Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry.24.09.2019
A delegation of 23 CEOs and high-ranking business representatives visited Bangladesh from 8 to 12 September 2019 to explore future business opportunities for German enterprises and to address key concerns faced by foreign investors. Beyond already strong export industries like garments and jute, delegates represented sectors with strong potential including construction, IT, interior design, shipping, tourism and environmental technologies.
The delegation from Germany was headed by Peter Clasen, Managing Partner of Wilhelm G. Clasen, a major jute exporter from Bangladesh. Mr. Clasen: “My first visit to Bangladesh dates back to the mid-1950s. Since then, the country has undergone a tremendous transformation. In particular within the past decade the economy has steadily grown making Bangladesh now the fastest growing market in Asia.” According to H.E. Ambassador Peter Fahrenholtz, 60 German companies are currently present in Bangladesh, yet there is still huge potential for many more German businesses across various industries. Several large German enterprises including BASF, Bayer, Commerzbank, DHL, Fichtner and Siemens have recently established a German Business Council.
Highlights of the five-day programme included meetings with H.E. Minister of Finance A H M Mustafa Kamal, H.E. Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. A K Abdul Momen, Economic Advisor of Prime Minister H.E. Dr. Mashiur Rahman. Furthermore, the delegation had exchanges with representatives of Ministry of Commerce, BIDA and BEZA.
Company visits in the capital included Dhaka WASA and BEXIMCO Group (apparel and textile division and ceramics). BEXIMCO Chairman A S F Rahman discussed with the group future developments in the ready-made garment industry such as sustainability, fast changing customer preferences and e-commerce.
During a one-day visit to Chittagong the delegation met with the Chairman of the Port Authority and visited the container terminal in the morning. The masterplan for future expansions has been developed together with German Hamburg Port Consulting. The President of the Chittagong Chamber of Commerce and Industry Mahbubul Alam together with corporate members welcomed the delegates for a working lunch. Afterwards the visitors toured the Chittagong Export Processing Zone followed by a factory visit of Pahartali Textile & Hosiery Mills of Ispahani Group of Companies. The participants were highly impressed by the state-of-the-art technology as well as the social commitment to their employees and the local community. Honorary Consul of the Federal Republic of Germany Mirza Shakir Ispahani hosted the delegation for an evening reception with local business leaders.
All delegation member who came to Bangladesh for the first time were highly impressed by the dynamic market and untapped business opportunities. Cedric Dumont, CEO of BAUER Bangladesh, a world-leading construction company from Germany highlights: “BAUER has been active in many Asian markets and only one month ago opened its office in Bangladesh. We see huge potential in the booming construction market where German companies can contribute with high-quality and cost-efficient foundation and ground solutions for key infrastructure projects.’
The delegation concluded their mission in Dhaka with a panel discussion on how to ensure provision of crucial information and market entry support to pave the way for more German investment in Bangladesh.
About OAV (German Asia-Pacific Business Association)
Since its foundation in 1900, OAV has become the leading network of German companies with interests and activities in the Asia-Pacific region. With over 800 members, OAV is a privately held, non-profit organization that strives to promote stronger bilateral economic relationships between Germany and the Asia-Pacific region.