Progress in business climate laudable, but further improvement needed

The relationship between Japan and Bangladesh is a trusted and time-tested one. Bangladesh became Japan's biggest recipient of the Official Development Assistance in 2020. Since the Covid-19 pandemic started more than a year ago, there has been a lot of talks and anticipation about Japanese businesses moving base to Bangladesh.

In a series of high-profile interviews, The Daily Star tries to understand the increasing interest of Japanese investors in Bangladesh, its growth prospects, barriers to growth, ground realities, and on how to attract more Japanese investment. As part of a series, today, we are running the interview of Yuji Ando, country representative of the Japan External Trade Organisation (Jetro) in Bangladesh.

Japan has realised economic growth by developing industrial sectors through diversifying and upgrading industrial structures. We had started from textile sectors when we started industrialisation in Meiji Era more than 100 years ago.

After World War II, the Japanese government had a policy to industrialise by starting from light engineering sectors to two-wheelers sectors and backward linkage industries. I think Bangladesh is coming to the same way steadily.

Japanese companies have led this industrialisation, and they always focus on improving the operation in the field.The government is also trying to listen to the private sector to support the industries. Improvement of the business environment, regulatory reform and support schemes (including subsidies) are continuously taken by the government. An interactive discussion and actual initiatives bring the appropriate environment for economic growth.

Nobody denies that Bangladesh has huge potential for growth, and many companies are showing interests in this country. The next five years are really important for Bangladesh, and the government should prepare for graduation from the grouping of the least-developed country (LDC) by introducing digitalisation and a better investment climate.