In a significant development, South Korea and Bangladesh are actively engaged in negotiations for a Bilateral Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), according to statements made by Park Young-sik, the Republic of Korea’s ambassador to Bangladesh. Speaking at a seminar titled “Korea-Bangladesh Economic Cooperation: Sharing Development Experience and Exploring Opportunities,” Ambassador Park provided insights into the progressing discussions.
The proposed agreement holds the potential to substantially enhance bilateral trade in a manner that benefits both nations, Ambassador Park noted. Highlighting the flourishing economic relationship that has developed over the years, he emphasized the positive outcomes for both economies.
“Our two-way trade surged past the $3 billion mark last year. Additionally, Korea’s investments in Bangladesh rank as the fifth largest in terms of cumulative value,” Ambassador Park remarked.
The seminar was graced by the presence of Shahriar Alam, the State Minister for Foreign Affairs, and Zunaid Ahmed Palak, the State Minister for the ICT Division. Ambassador Park underlined Korea’s longstanding involvement in Bangladesh’s growth story, particularly in the ready-made garment (RMG) sector. He recalled the historic collaboration between Desh Garments, Bangladesh’s first RMG factory, and Korean company Daewoo Corporation in 1979.
Pointing to the symbolic Korea Export Processing Zone (KEPZ) established in Chattogram, he reinforced the significance of the economic ties between the two nations. Ambassador Park attributed the robust economic partnership to the concerted efforts of business communities from both sides.
Anticipating Bangladesh’s transition from its least developed country (LDC) status by 2026 and its ambitious goal to attain developed country status by 2041, Ambassador Park acknowledged the opportunities and challenges ahead. Citing a recent report by World Economics, he proudly revealed that Bangladesh had been recognized as the fastest-growing economy in the Asia-Pacific region among 32 nations surveyed in June.
Ambassador Park expressed his optimism that Bangladesh’s LDC graduation would resonate positively with the international business community, making the country more appealing for foreign investments crucial to its infrastructure development. He stressed Korea’s intention to play a pivotal role in Bangladesh’s infrastructure growth, akin to its contributions to the RMG sector.
In this context, Ambassador Park expressed hope for the swift advancement of projects such as the Meghna Bridge Project on the Bhulta-Araihazar-Bancharampur Road (R-203) and the Supplying of Treated Water from Meghna River to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Shilpa Nagar (BSMSN). These projects, currently under discussion through the Joint Public-Private Partnership Platform Meeting, are viewed as potential benchmarks for encouraging further Korean investments in Bangladesh.
The ongoing negotiations between Korea and Bangladesh hold the promise of solidifying their economic collaboration and creating pathways for mutual growth. As both nations work towards their respective developmental milestones, the outcome of these discussions could shape the trajectory of their partnership for years to come.