Speakers at a programme on Tuesday called for more collaboration among the nations in Asia and Western Pacific for better trade and economic relations as the region is gradually becoming the focal centre of global business.
They also stressed the importance of enhancing interaction between trade bodies and businesses in the region for favourable business environment as top two economies in the world--USA and China--were at trade war.
The observations came at the two-day 33rd CACCI Conference jointly organised by the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) and the Confederation of Asia-Pacific Chambers of Commerce and Industry (CACCI) at Sonargaon Hotel in the city.
Prime Minister's Private Industry & Investment advisor Salman F Rahman addressed the inaugural session as the chief guest.
CACCI president Samir Modi, its vice-presidents Pradeep Kumar Shrestha, Pedram Soltani and Wyler Wong, and FBCCI senior vice-president Md Muntakim Ashraf also spoke while FBCCI president Sheikh Fazle Fahim delivered welcome speech.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr Rahman said as part of developing the nation, Bangladesh has been very successful in reducing poverty as its rate came down to 23 per cent from over 40 per cent only ten years back.
Referring to the country's per capita income reaching around US$ 2,000 he said, "The achievements in different economic and social indicators give us confidence to become a middle- income country by 2031 and a developed country by 2041."
In this regard, Bangladesh prioritises three key areas for development--energy, infrastructure and agriculture, he said adding: "Two deep-sea ports-Matarbari and Payra- are also under construction which will be the game changer in the country's trade scenario."
Meanwhile, the government envisioned 100 economic zones as part of a planned industrialisation as there has been a conflict between arable lands and industries due to a complex situation of dense population and scarce land, he said.
Focusing on the business environment in the country, Mr Rahman said Bangladesh's ranking (168th) in the Ease of Doing Business Index isn't satisfactory yet so that the authorities concerned have taken robust policy reform program to enter top 100 by 2021.
Indicating to recent moves for trade protectionism by the USA and China he said, "To maintain smooth trade environment in Asia, business communities on the platform of CACCI should discuss and interact more against a backdrop of trade protectionism."
The more free trade takes place in the region, the more the global citizens get benefit, he added.
CACCI president Mr Modi said the Asia-Pacific region is now the world's largest and fastest developing economy, driving growth in trade, investments, new technologies, innovations and reforms. He also said recent economic trends in the Asia-Pacific gives optimism to perceptions that the region will be the engine of the global economy in future.
While Asia is at the forefront of the global economy today, it confronts some fundamental challenges that may require a shift in the region's growth model, he said, adding: "preserving international and regional collaboration also remains an important objective for strong economic integration."
FBCCI president Mr Fahim stressed the need for Bangladesh's stable macro-economic growth trajectory and its development in the past decade.
He also mentioned that FBCCI has been addressing crucial issues of the transitional economy including knowledge transfer for 3rd industrial revolution (3IR) to industrial revolution (4IR), artificial intelligence (AI), regulatory planning, SDG goals, industry-academia gap assessment, re-skilling and technology transfer.
Following the inauguration ceremony, a discussion titled 'Discover Business Opportunities through CACCI' was also organised on the first day of the CACCI conference.
Prime Minister's adviser Salman F Rahman, director of Department of Trade and Industry of Philippines Bobby Fondevilla, Moscow Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) vice-president Artem Dalevich, Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB) vice-president Ayhan Zeytino?lu and Chamber of Commerce Northern Territory (Australia) Deputy CEO Brian O'Gallagher spoke at the event moderated by the FBCCI president.