Monthly Archives: July 2008

Taiwanese relocating factories to Bangladesh

Taiwanese relocating factories to Bangladesh

$200m FDI in six months in EPZs
Jasim Uddin Khan

Taiwanese entrepreneurs are relocating their shoe, furniture and tent fabric manufacturing units to Bangladesh from China and Vietnam as the US and EU imposed anti-dumping duties on the two Asian countries.

The relocation of factories by the Taiwanese helped Bangladesh to receive over $200 million foreign direct investment (FDI) in the first six months of 2008, which is two-third of the investment the Export Processing Zones Authority (Bepza) received in 2007-08 fiscal.

In April 2006 the European Commission formally approved anti-dumping duties on shoes and furniture made in China and Vietnam. In March 2008 EU member states voted in favour of a regulation, which extends the anti-dumping duty until October 2008.

However, it is widely expected that the European shoe industry will request for a further extension of the ant-dumping measure.

“Another reason for shifting the plants to South Asian countries from China and Vietnam is the soaring production costs. Production cost increased over 30 percent in the two countries during the first six months of 2008 due to appreciation of local currencies against US dollar,” Frank Wen-Yan Chen, representative of Taipei Representative Office in Dhaka, said yesterday.

According to sources at the Taiwan Trade Centre (TTC) in Dhaka, during the period seven Taiwanese leading furniture, shoe and tent fabric manufacturing companies shifted their factories in China and Vietnam to Bangladesh.

TTC sources said Trendex Industries Ltd, a global leading furniture maker, invested around $55 million in April of this year to set up a new plant at Karnaphuli EPZ in Chittagong.

Mark Hsu, chief executive of Trendex, signed an agreement with the government under which the company bought 27 plots inside the EPZ for the project.

Another big tent manufacturing company Eusebio Sporting Co Ltd invested $50 million for establishing a tent fabric manufacturing plant in Comilla EPZ. But now the production cost of the fabric has increased over 40 percent in China.

Chief executive officer of Eusebio Sporting Co Ltd Lin signed the investment agreement this month and got 22 plots allocated for the factory.

Eusebio is the number one Taiwanese owned Chinese sleeping bag, rucksacks and tent producing company.

Zhong Shan Glory Shoes Ind Co Ltd will shift its shoe factory from China to Karnaphuli EPZ as export of the product to Europe and US markets has been reduced by around 60 percent due to anti-dumping duty. Company’s Managing Director Ho signed an agreement with Bepza in May of this year for setting up its plant on 22 industrial plots in Karnaphuli EPZ.

“Like Zhong Shan Glory Shoes many Taiwanese shoe manufacturers with manufacturing units in China and Vietnam are seriously thinking of shifting their plants to South Asia,” the representative of Taipei Representative Office in Dhaka said.

He said Taiwanese investment in India also jumped to $ 600 million this year.

Genfort Shoes Ltd and La Luna Shoes signed agreements in May and this month, respectively, to invest around $35 million and $ 22 million.

La Luna Shoes will also establish a separate shoe machinery manufacturing plant in Karnaphuli EPZ.

Representative Yan Chen said more Taiwanese investment will come and get registered for industrial plots in Bangladesh.

He pointed out that Bangladesh EPZs do not have adequate plots for the Taiwanese firms with plans to investment in Bangladesh.

“If the government allocate separate industrial plots exclusively for Taiwanese companies investment from Taiwan will double within the next year, Yan Chen hoped.

EBL arranges Tk 300m syndicated loan facility for Magnum Steel

EBL arranges Tk 300m syndicated loan facility for Magnum Steel

Eastern Bank Limited (EBL) has arranged a syndicated facility of Tk 300 million medium term loan for Magnum Steel Industries Limited (MSIL).

The MSIL, an automatic steel re-rolling mill, is expected to produce 90,000 tonnes of MS rods per annum, said a press release.

In this connection, a signing ceremony of agreements was held at a city hotel recently.

Participating banks of the syndicate are Bangladesh Commerce Bank Limited, Bank Al-Falah Limited, Eastern Bank Limited, People’s Leasing and Financial Services Limited, Social Investment Bank Limited and City Bank Limited.

The EBL is the agent and account bank for this transaction.

EBL Managing Director (MD) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ali Reza Iftekhar expressed his satisfaction to all lending partners for their support towards achieving the financial close of this transaction.

Iftekhar also thanked the participating banks for showing their confidence in the EBL.

He gave the assurance that the EBL would continue its efforts to bring quality transactions in the market.

MDs, CEOs and top executives of all the participating banks were also present on the occasion.

The MSIL is setting up a modern production unit at Gazaria in Munshiganj with the objective of producing a range of hot rolled bars (de-formed rods) of mainly 60 grade and different wire rod/wire drawing items.

The mill will use the latest technology to produce thermo mechanically treated (TMT) bars.

By achieving a higher level of strength, the bars will have a lower carbon content and thus allow a greater flex and weld ability and make them more suitable than the standard grade 60 deformed bars.

BUET signs deal with Huawei

BUET signs deal with Huawei
Business Desk

Huawei, a global leader in next generation telecommunication network, signed an agreement with Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BIJE1’) for setting up a world class Wireless Communication Laboratory and Training Centre at BUET.

Wonder Wang, deputy chief representative, Huawei Technologies (Bangladesh) Ltd, and Professor Aminul Hoque, head of EEE department of BUET, signed the agreement at the Winter Garden of Dhaka Sheraton Hotel in the Dhaka city on Wednesday, said a press release.

This lab to be installed at the EEE department’s new building in west Palashi would contribute in grooming up of skilled telecom experts in the country.

Hossain Zillur Rabman, adviser of the ministry of education, graced the occasion as chief guest.

Professor M Tamim, the chief adviser’s special assistant for the ministry of power, energy and mineral resources, attended the programme as special guest.

Professor AMM Safiullah, BUET vice-chancellor, also attended the programme as invited guest.

Bangladesh now to certify exportable leather

Bangladesh now to certify exportable leather
Refayet Ullah Mirdha

Bangladesh is going to launch a global standard testing laboratory by this month to test and certify exportable leather and footwear products to meet the demands of international buyers.

In the process of becoming a certifying country for exporting leather and footwear products the country will have to join the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC).

The ILAC first started as a conference in 1977 with the aim to develop international cooperation for facilitating trade by the promotion and acceptance of accredited test and calibration results.

In 1996, ILAC became a formal cooperative platform with a charter to establish a network of mutual recognition agreements among accreditation bodies that would help fulfill the aim of certifying exportable leather goods.

A senior official of the Bangladesh College of Leather Technology (BCLT) said the newly-built certification laboratory at BCLT at Hazaribagh in Dhaka.

“Almost all works for the leather testing laboratory have already been done and if everything goes according to plan, the laboratory will be inaugurated by the scheduled time to act as the accreditation body for Bangladeshi leather and leather goods,” he said.

At present, the Bangladeshi leather and footwear products manufacturers have to collect the testing certificates from Hong Kong, Italy, Germany and India as per the requirements of the international buyers.

“Since the collection of such certificates from Europe and India is a time-consuming and expensive matter, the government of Bangladesh started this project a few years ago to build this laboratory,” he said.

The Bangladesh government mainly financed the setting up the testing laboratory although the Italian government under a project gave an amount of the total fund, he added.

Talking to The Daily Star, Syed Nasim Manzur, managing director of Apex Adelchi Footwear Limited, the country’s leading footwear manufacturing and exporting company, said a testing laboratory in Bangladesh is answering a crying need.

“The country’s export of leather goods and footwear products will definitely increase as the local exporters will be able to receive international standard certificate from the local authorities,” Nasim said.

Meanwhile, data from the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) show that leather worth $261.67 million was exported during July-May period of 2007-08 fiscal year against its target of $264.47 million for the same period.

During the same period, the manufacturers exported footwear worth $145.73 million against its target of $147.92 million, while leather bags and purses worth $7.86 million were exported against its target of $11.65 million.

Foreign investment in EPZs grows 100pc in FY08

Foreign investment in EPZs grows 100pc in FY08
Jasim Uddin Khan

Foreign investment grew almost hundred percent to $302 million in the country’s eight export processing zones (EPZs) in 2007-08 fiscal.

The volume of foreign investment in EPZs was only $152 million in the previous fiscal, Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority (Bepza) officials said.

Bepza executives yesterday said weaker dollar, low labour costs and easy access to Asian markets were reasons behind the high growth of investment.

“Bepza for the first time received investment in diversified sectors like furniture, agro products and electrical and electronics goods,” Bepza General Manager (Investment Promotion) Abdur Rashid said.

He said an absence of labour unrest, secured investment and utility services for a considerable period of time prompted investors from countries like Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore and Korea, who face high labour and other manufacturing costs in their countries, to invest in the EPZs.

Bepza also attained 17.73 percent growth in export earnings during 2007-08 fiscal. Bepza earned $2.43 billion in 2007-08 fiscal against the export earning of $2.06 in the fiscal 2006-07.

The EPZs have been able to employ over 1700 new workers during the fiscal with total employment in EPZs rising to 2.18 lakh.

The surge is in marked contrast to foreign investment levels outside the EPZs.

Rashid said Bepza received much larger scale investment proposals, many of which came from non-garment manufacturers.

“Bepza never received investment worth over $100 million at a time, but during 2007-08 fiscal we received several investment projects that are worth more than $100 million,” he said.

Negotiations are on with Taiwanese furniture manufacturing company Tri Max Global Company Ltd, South Korean company Paka Textile, and another Taiwanese company Golden Chang to induce the companies to invest in Bangladesh at larger scale.

Rashid said entrepreneurs are attaching top priority to Bangladesh because of the country’s close proximity to the fast growing South and South Asian markets and the fact that it is within easy reach of the Middle East.

Currently 283 industrial units are in operation in eight EPZs across the country. 174 of these are foreign, while 39 and 70 units are joint venture and Bangladeshi owned, respectively.

Bangladesh to lead Third World in medical physics

Bangladesh to lead Third World in medical physics

News Network quoting Professor K. Siddique-e-Rabbani of Dhaka University

EIGHTY per cent of the global population living in the third world countries hardly get the services of modern healthcare technologies and are unlikely to get in the foreseeable future if the development of appliances and their commercialisation is done by the rich countries.

Professor K Siddique-e-Rabbani of Dhaka University in a lecture at the 16th International Conference of Medical Physics (ICMP) held at Dubai in April 2008 said, ECG and the X-ray machines were invented over 100 years ago and still majority of the population in the third world countries do not get their benefits.

He said the only way to remove the disparity is to allow the third world people to design and manufacture the necessary equipment in their own countries. This will make the equipment affordable apart from other advantages like better longevity, repair and scope for maintenance. It will also allow innovation of new methods and devices to deal with specific health problems.

According to Prof Rabbani, with the existing knowledge of relevant science and engineering disciplines and the existing infrastructures, the third world technologists can design and make in their own countries, almost 90 per cent of the equipment that are needed to deliver modern healthcare. But fear of unfamiliarity, lack of practical exposure and confidence bars them from making such attempts.

There is also a vested quarter that wants to serve the interests of the multinational manufacturers as they influence the policymakers in the third world countries.

Prof Rabbani was highly acclaimed by the audience, including senior members of the International Organisation of Medical Physics (IOMP).

Dr. Rabbani said with 30 years of continued efforts in developing indigenous capability in Biomedical Physics and Engineering at Dhaka University and at Bangladesh Institute for Biomedical Engineering and Appropriate Technology (BiBEAT), Bangladesh is now ready to take the leading role in the Third World in this respect and plans to set up an international centre in Dhaka in this connection.

He also presented sample slides of a computerised ECG circuit trainer involving both hardware and software. which he designed and fabricated from scratch. It was also used to train engineers from several countries at a short course and workshop organised by the Islami University of Technology (IUT) in Gazipur last year.

The workshop was a great success and a few foreign and local participants purchased and carried home a few of these trainer kits to initiate the training in their respective institutions.

This particular training programme could be a beginning to trigger the technological confidence in the third world Dr. Rabbani said in his lecture.

He currently leads the research at the Biomedical Physics Laboratory, Department of Physics, Dhaka University

The history of the above efforts in Bangladesh goes back to 1978 when Dr. A Sattar Syed, a senior Physicist at BSCIR at the time, took the initiative to take up research on electromagnetic stimulation for bone healing together with his friend late Professor M. Shamsul Islam at the Dhaka University Physics department.

Professor Islam motivated and induced Dr. Rabbani, a fresh Ph.D. in Electronics, to help and join this research team, and thus was formed the pioneering group of Medical Physics research in Bangladesh.

This later grew manifold due to an academic link in 1983 with Sheffield University through the efforts of Professor Islam and Professor B.H. Brown, and supported by the British ODA.

Over the years more than 80 students have done their Master thesis in Medical Physics under Dr. Rabbani.

Recently, a few have completed M. Phil and PhD as well.

All necessary specialised research equipment were designed and fabricated locally. SME of these groundbreaking researches, particularly in Nerve conduction measurement and in electrical impedance methods for physiological study and diagnosis, have received international acclaim through both conferences and publications.

This brings a ray of hope and possibility for Bangladesh to serve the global humanity, particularly in the Third World, as a leader of appropriate technology in Medical Physics.

Korean company to invest $ 12.5 million in Karnaphuli EPZ

Korean company to invest $ 12.5 million in Karnaphuli EPZ

DHAKA, Bangladesh, July 15 (BSS)- Bohemian Travel Gear Limited, a Korean company, will set up a camping furniture, travel bag and accessories manufacturing industry in the Karnaphuli Export Process Zone.

This 100% foreign owned company will invest about Taka 87 crore in setting up their plant and produce annually 30 million pcs of products to export. The company will also create employment opportunity for 785 Bangladeshis, including five foreign nationals.

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Huawei donates $ 3 million equipment to BUET

Huawei donates $ 3 million equipment to BUET

FE Report

Bangladesh University of Engineering & Technology (BUET) in collaboration with Chinese telecom giant Huawei is going to set up a GSM laboratory to produce skilled manpower in country’s thriving telecommunication sector.

The Huawei Technologies (Bangladesh) Ltd recently donated three million US Dollar (nearly Tk. 200 million) GSM equipment to BUET to set up the proposed GSM laboratory, officials of the Shenzhen–based telecom company said.

There will be a wireless communication laboratory & training center in BUET with Huawei’s Next Generation GSM equipments.

A 250 square meter area has been earmarked to set up laboratory and class room in a newly constructed building in BUET. This lab will be used for training, research & development purpose (R&D).

An agreement was signed early this month between Huawei Technologies (Bangladesh) Ltd. and Dept. of Electrical and Electronic Engineering (EEE), BUET to establish the Laboratory.

Huawei feels that the lab will largely contribute to create skilled human resource in the telecom sector.

The Chinese company offers training to a large number of Bangladeshi telecom engineers every year in Chinese cities.

Earlier in December, 2007 Huawei donated $579,241 worth of Data Communication Equipment to BUET for Development of a Data communication Network Lab and enhancement of BUET backbone network system.

Submergence tolerant variety to boost rice output

Submergence tolerant variety to boost rice output
Porimol Palma

Scientists have developed a submergence resistant variety of rice that can withstand inundation, compensating for the yearly loss of yields to flash floods.

The variety, known as Swarna-Sub 1, holds out great hope for Bangladesh where recurrent floods wreak havoc on the Aman crop.

Floods keep around 70 percent flood-prone areas in Bangladesh inundated for one-two weeks on average, while the other areas remain under water for up to one month, said Saiful Hossain, executive engineer at Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre in Dhaka.

Scientists, however, said the new variety developed by International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI), would go through participatory field tests till 2010.

Trials have shown that Swarna-Sub 1 springs back to life even after being submerged for 10-17 days.

“Bangladesh has more arable land for Aman than for Boro. But then, Boro yield is way high because floods damage vast swathes of Aman fields almost every year, cutting down its production,” said Prof Dr MA Sattar Mandal of Bangladesh Agriculture University.

Floods damage Aman seedlings, forcing farmers to go for low-quality seedlings once the water recedes, he said.

“The new variety would surely boost our rice production when made available for farmers,” Prof Mandal said.

However, its production costs need to be taken into account before introducing it to farmers, he said.

After field tests at BRRI stations in Rangpur and Gazipur, Swarna-Sub1went through trials on farmers’ fields in Rangpur, Kurigram, Lalmonirhat, Nilphamari, Gaibandha and Sirajganj with the help of IRRI and NGOs during last year’s Aman season, said Dr MA Mazid, principal scientific officer of BRRI in Rangpur.

“The rice plants were kept submerged on ten fields for 5-9 days, they remained under water twice for 2-14 days on 12 fields and on two fields for 3-10 days. But yields in these fields were 3.88, 3.76 and 3.51 tonnes per hectare,” he said.

Dr Mazid said the yield was 4.9 tonnes a hectare in Lalmonirhat where the rice paddy was kept submerged for eight days. Water, however, delayed the flowering for 12-15 days, he added.

He said seed production was increased during the Boro season to expand the trials further this year.

With the participatory trials scheduled to go through 2010, the variety may be ready for farmers in three years from now, he said, adding that it would play a significant role in increasing rice production in the flash-flood prone areas.

Grown on around 58 lakh hectares, Aman yields stand at around one crore tonne while 1.75 crore tonnes of Boro is harvested from about 45 lakh hectares of land.

Executive Engineer Saiful said the submersion-resistant variety can redress production loss in vast areas of northern and north-eastern districts where flash floods are recurrent.

The IRRI and the BRRI also developed three other submersion-resistant varieties, codenamed BR11-Sub1, IR64-Sub1 and Sumba Mousuri-Sub 1. These varieties are, however, yet to go through participatory trials with farmers.

Revenue exceeds target for first time

Revenue exceeds target for first time
NBR earns Tk1000cr more
Star Business Report

The National Board of Revenue (NBR), for the first time in the country’s history, exceeded its revenue target and earned an excess of Tk 1,000 crore for the fiscal year 2007-08.

The actual revenue target for the fiscal 2007-08 was Tk43, 850crore. It stood at Tk45, 970crore in the revised target. The board earnings stood at Tk47, 200crore, which was Tk37, 219crore in the fiscal year 2006-07.

The growth in revenue earnings compared to the 2006-07 fiscal also saw a record 27 percent rise. The board’s year on year revenue growth was between 9 and 14 percent in the last four fiscal years.

“This is for the first time the revenue earnings not just exceeded its target but also increased than the revised one,” NBR Chairman Muhammad Abdul Mazid told a press briefing yesterday.

Usually, revised target cuts the actual revenue target. But the revised target for the fiscal 2007-08 was set more than the actual target, he added.

Previously unrecovered taxes also contributed to make a big earning figure.. The board recovered Tk1200crore due tax from the Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC). It also got extra Tk804crore as tax from undisclosed money holders, Mazid said.

According to him, greater transparency and accountability in tax administration, cooperation of the taskforce and an improvement in tax paying culture are the main reasons to have such significant earnings.

Income tax also witnessed a significant growth of 33 percent in the 2006-07 fiscal, which was 22 percent in the corresponding fiscal. The revenue growth in case of VAT (value added tax) doubled to 22 percent in the ’07 fiscal.

From import, tax-earning growth was 27 percent in ’08 fiscal, which was only 2 percent in the fiscal year 2006-07.

During the press briefing, NBR also disclosed the country’s largest taxpayers’ lists. When asked about plans to disclose the tax dodgers’ names, its chairman said it should be published.

According to the NBR chairman, tobacco companies are on the top of the highest taxpayer lists followed by the mobile phone companies.

According to the NBR list, Grameenphone is on top of the bank dominance income tax paying list. The top income tax paying organisations with the amounts paid are Grameenphone- Tk 435 crore, Standard Chartered Bank- Tk 220 crore, Chevron Bangladesh Blocks 13 and 14 Ltd- Tk 180 crore, Islami Bank Bangladesh Ltd- Tk161 crore, Titas Gas (TND) Company Ltd- Tk136 crore, HSBC- Tk118 crore, Southeast Bank Ltd- Tk88 crore, Pubali Bank Ltd- Tk 78 crore, Citibank NA Ltd- Tk76 crore and Prime Bank Ltd- Tk 67 crore.

The ten top VAT payers with the amounts paid are British-American Tobacco- Tk 2,828 crore, Grameenphone- Tk 1,438 crore, Dhaka Tobacco- Tk 1,180 crore, Titas Gas Field- Tk 764 crore, Sheba Telecom- Tk 601 crore, Habiganj Gas Field- Tk 465 crore, AKTEL- Tk 277 crore, Kailastila Gas Field- Tk 196 crore, Rural Electrification Board- Tk 105 crore and Rashidpur Gas Field- Tk 101 crore.

Eskayef becomes first local firm to export medicine to Indonesia

Eskayef becomes first local firm to export medicine to Indonesia
Star Business Desk

Eskayef Bangladesh Ltd, one of the leading pharmaceutical companies in the country, has sent its first consignment of medicines to Indonesia, according to a press release.

This is the first consignment of medicines to Indonesia by any pharmaceutical company from Bangladesh. Indonesia with a population of 237 million is a very potential export market for the Bangladeshi pharmaceutical products.

In April 2006, Managing Director of the company AM Faruque and Head of International Business Mahmud Hasan visited Indonesia with the support of the Indonesian embassy to Bangladesh, particularly Hendra P Iskandar, the first secretary and head of Chancery of the embassy.

During their visit to Indonesia, they met top officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Health and Drug Administration Authority and different pharmaceutical companies.

In May 2007 a business delegation from Indonesia came to Bangladesh and visited Eskayef plant. The delegates were convinced of the standard of Eskayef Bangladesh, and signed an agreement.

After completing relevant registration formalities, Eskayef Bangladesh started exporting to Indonesia.

AM Faruque said, “Indonesia is a regulated market and the country has a very strong pharmaceutical base. Due to our high quality standard, we have got the approval and started exporting to Indonesia.”

“We are already exporting our products to many countries across four continents,” he added.

Hope for 3 paddy crops a year in N dists

Hope for 3 paddy crops a year in N dists
Our Correspondent, Rangpu

Rangpur Dinajpur Rural Service (RDRS), an NGO, has evolved a new technology to cultivate paddy thrice a year in northern districts.

RDRS evolved the new technology after conducting research at its farm at Uttam for three years. The technology was already transferred to 42 farmers in Rangpur, Kurigram and Thakurgaon districts.

The RDRS authorities claimed that food insecurity of the country would be removed to a great extent by producing aman paddy twice a season.

Usually, farmers in the region cultivate two kinds of paddy, aman and boro, in a year on high land, they said. Applying the new technology, farmers will be able to cultivate aman crop twice a year, they added.

RDRS has taken steps for participatory field tests to popularise the technology among farmers this season.

RDRS coordinator MG Niogi said following harvest of hybrid rice in boro season, plants grow again from roots of the harvested paddy within five to six days. It can be re-transplanted in fields within 15 days. Since its re transplantation, paddy can be harvested within 75 to 80 days, he said adding, they named it ‘Kushi dhan.’

Taiwanese investors keen to shift factories to Bangladesh

Taiwanese investors keen to shift factories to Bangladesh
United News of Bangladesh . Dhaka

Taiwanese businessmen, who invested heavily in China’s furniture sector, are now interested to shift their factories to Bangladesh to maximise their profit, Taiwanese investors and officials have said.

With Bangladesh’s better facilities, tax incentives and cheap labour, many of the investors are increasingly showing interests in Bangladesh, while a few of them have already set up their offices in Dhaka, they said.

An official with Taipei Representative Office in Dhaka said that the liaison office is hosting more and more Taiwanese investors who want to relocate their factories to Bangladesh from China.

‘You see, Bangladesh is a very good place to invest money, and our furniture-sector investors want to move here,’ the official said on condition of anonymity in line with official policy.

‘Many of our investors are researching their scope here,’ the official said.

The official’s statement carries weight, as Taiwan’s Dhaka office has brought in some $268 million in new investment since 2004 when the office was first established in Bangladesh.

The official said the amount of Taiwanese investment was only $32 million in 2004 but now it is about $300 million. A total of 36 Taiwanese companies, including 10 trading agencies, are operating here. ‘And many more want to come, many of them want to shift their factories from China,’ he said.

‘The furniture sector is one of the thriving sectors, in that case,’ he said. ‘Most importantly our factories want joint venture with Bangladesh’s furniture companies.’

What is prompting the Taiwanese investors to relocate their factories to Bangladesh from China?

‘There are various reasons that a business always needs to be taken care of,’ said Mark Seed of Trendex Furniture Industry, a company that has opted to shift factories from China.

Trendex has opened an office in Chittagong and the Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority has already approved its investment proposal to set up furniture factories in Karnaphuli EPZ, Mark said.

He explained why he wants to move to Bangladesh. ‘It’s simple. We had a huge plan in China but we have planned to move here because of China’s changed policy,’ he said.

‘In China, the cost of workers is getting 15 to 20 percent higher a year. Currency is an issue since we are one hundred percent export-oriented company.’

‘I am losing money there,’ he said, adding: ‘I am coming to Bangladesh for the reasons for what we had gone to China 15 years ago.’

Mark would not disclose the size of his planned investment in Bangladesh but said: ‘I tell you I am a small man (investor), if you can give much better facilities big, big investors from Taiwan are ready to invest their money here.’

‘Bangladesh is a good place to invest in. But I would say it must provide (us with) a system (for long-term benefits),’ he said. ‘Ten-year tax holiday is a good incentive.’

Another Taiwanese investor who has furniture factories in China’s Guang Dong Province said he was visiting Bangladesh recently to explore scope for relocation of his setups to Bangladesh.

‘We will visit Chittagong and see what facilities we may get,’ he said on condition of anonymity to maintain secrecy of his business plan.

The investors and Taiwanese officials said joint venture could be a very good option for Taiwanese investors in the furniture sector.

‘Our investors are very much interested for joint ventures with local companies in the sector,’ the official said.

‘I must say Bangladesh’s furniture industry will learn a lot, especially from designing aspect, from Taiwanese companies,’ he said.

32.8pc remittance growth in ’08

32.8pc remittance growth in ’08

FE Report

Remittances sent by Bangladeshis working abroad reached nearly US$8.00 billion, a record in the country’s history, in the just concluded fiscal, marking a 32.80 per cent growth over the same period of the last fiscal.

The flow of remittance in fiscal 2007-08 was a continuation of the trend of last fiscal when it was recorded at $5.97 billion.

The growth in 2006-07 was 24.52 per cent over the previous fiscal.

The country received $7.939 billion worth of remittances during the last fiscal (2007-08) against $5.978 billion in the previous fiscal, according to the provisional figure of the central bank, released Sunday.

The remittances from Bangladeshi nationals working abroad were estimated at $778.37 million in June last. In May 2008, the remittance was worth $730.26 million.

The country’s foreign exchange reserve stood at $6.20 billion on the day, thanks to a robust growth of remittances from the expatriate Bangladeshis, officials said.

The foreign exchange reserve, however, is likely to come down slightly as the central bank is set to pay around $591 million to the Asian Clearing Union (ACU) in a day or two.

“We expect the existing trend of inward remittances will continue in this fiscal,” a senior official of the Bangladesh Bank (BB) told the FE, adding that the government has also taken different measures to increase the flow of remittances through banking channel.

He also said remittances continued to rise sharply due to massive growth in manpower export and implementation of the Anti-money Laundering Act that influenced the expatriates to use official channels instead of illegal channel ‘hundi’ for sending money.

More than 475,800 Bangladeshis found jobs in over 100 countries during the January-June period of this calendar year, according to the Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training (BMET) statistics.

The central bank has already enacted a series of anti-money laundering laws and simplified money exchange rules to encourage expatriate Bangladeshis to avoid the illegal hundi channel.

It has also allowed the commercial banks to make partnership with the non-governmental organisations (NGOs) having branches all over the country for disbursement of the remittances, particularly in the rural areas.

The ACU is an arrangement among the central banks of the member countries to settle trade related payments on a multilateral basis. Its members are Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Iran, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

Under the existing provisions, settlement of the balance and accrued interests are made at the end of each two-month period.

Korean company to invest $15m in Chittagong EPZ

Korean company to invest $15m in Chittagong EPZ


M/s North Pole BD Limited (Unit-2), a Korean company will set up a camping tent, sleeping bag, camping furniture and accessories manufacturing industry in the Chittagong Export Processing Zone.

This 100 per cent foreign-owned company will invest initially about Tk 105 crore in setting up its plant and will produce camping tent, sleeping bag, camping chair.

The company will also create employment opportunity for 2535 Bangladeshi and two foreign nationals.

An agreement to this effect was signed between the Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority and M/s North Pole BD Limited (Unit-2) at BEPZA Complex in the city on July 1.

Prasanta Bhushan Barua, Member (Investment Promotion) of BEPZA and Steven David Fleischil, CEO of M/s North Pole BD Limited (Unit-2) signed the agreement on behalf of their respective organisations.

Brig General Jamil Ahmed Khan, Executive Chairman of BEPZA and other officials from respective organizations were present on the occasion.