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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