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Sunday, May 26, 2024

Japan to establish supply chain hub in Bangladesh

The Japanese government has approved $1.27 billion funding for three infrastructure projects in Bangladesh including a new commercial port in the Matarbari area with links to adjacent landlocked Indian states, including Tripura, and wider international markets.

The funds were approved in line with the Japanese government’s proposal of Japan developing an industrial hub in Bangladesh loaded with supply chains that would serve the landlocked northeastern states of India, and to Nepal and Bhutan beyond. The fund will be used for developing a port and transport in the region, according to an official statement. The proposed Matarbari project would be Bangladesh’s first deep-sea port capable of hosting large vessels.

Hiroshi Suzuki, Japan’s ambassador to India said that already more than 300 Japanese companies were already operating in Bangladesh. Both countries are expected to sign an economic partnership agreement soon that could further boost manufacturing and attract more foreign companies, he said. It is pertinent to note that Bangladesh is the second largest exporter of ready-made garment in the world after China. It however has to import a lot of inputs from other countries. The establishment of supply chains in the country would make its textile industry self-reliant in most accessories needed by the industry. It would also facilitate the nearby countries like Nepal and Bhutan to move ahead in textiles and other fields as major inputs could be seamlessly shipped from Bangladesh.

The idea was first floated by the Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida during his visit to India last month in which he proposed a new industrial hub for the Bay of Bengal and northeast India that could bolster development in the impoverished region of 300 million people.

“It can be a win-win plan for India and Bangladesh,”, stated the Japanese Ambassador to India while discussing industrial hub proposal at a meeting of Indian, Bangladeshi and Japanese officials in Agartala, the Tripura state capital. He said the deep seaport was likely to become operational by 2027 and would be a key to building an industrial hub connecting the Bangladesh capital Dhaka to landlocked areas of India.
India’s federal minister for its northeast region, G Kishan Reddy, welcomed the Japanese initiative at the meeting. Bangladeshi minister of state for foreign affairs Shahriar Alam said it would boost Indian-Bangladeshi trade and help bring in Japanese and other foreign investment.
Japan and India have joined hands to counter China’s multibillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative by developing infrastructure projects across Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Africa as an alternative to counter spreading Chinese influence.

Meanwhile Bangladesh’s Prime Minister is visiting Japan from April 25-28 at the invitation of the Prime Minister of Japan.

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