Singapore companies urged to look to fast-growing Bangladesh market

Bangladesh and Singapore complement each other and should do more together, the countries' leaders said yesterday, as they urged companies here to look to the fast-growing market in Bangladesh.

Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina - in town for her first official visit to the Republic - said Singapore, with its capital and know-how, and Bangladesh, which has a sizeable workforce, can harness these comparative advantages to their mutual benefit.

Two pacts to boost air connectivity and make it easier for Singapore companies to enter Bangladesh were signed yesterday. And four more agreements on technological business cooperation will be inked today at the Bangladesh-Singapore Business Forum.

This slew of agreements, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, will signal to businesses that the relations between the two countries are good, and "the winds are favourable for their ventures".


"These comparative advantages may be harnessed to our mutual benefit," Madam Hasina said in her speech at the Istana, where she was hosted to lunch by Mr Lee.

Sembcorp is one of the largest investors in Bangladesh's energy sector, with more than US$1.1 billion (S$1.45 billion) invested in power plants, while PSA is interested in exploring opportunities at Chittagong Port, the busiest seaport on the Bay of Bengal's coastline.

Madam Hasina, who also visited PSA yesterday, expects her visit will "usher in a new era of economic cooperation between our two countries".

Meanwhile, Mr Lee paid tribute to the rich cultural links between Bangladesh and Singapore that have reinforced their longstanding friendship.

He noted that the late writer Rabindranath Tagore - the first Asian to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature and the composer of Bangladesh's national anthem - had visited Singapore in the 1920s and written about the region.