The visiting Pakistani textile delegation Sunday sought the guarantee of utility services at a stable price for 10 years for their investment in the textile sector of Bangladesh.
They said the prices of such services including gas, electricity and water are higher in Pakistan compared with those in Bangladesh
"Pakistani investors can come here with investment proposals if the existing facilities given by the government are guaranteed," said M Zubair Motiwala, vice-chairman of the All Pakistan Textile Processing Mills Association (APTPMA), at a seminar on 'Strategic Cooperation in Textile Sector between Bangladesh and Pakistan.'
Textile is a highly labour-oriented sector and Bangladesh has the skilled manpower for it, Motiwala said, adding now if the government ensures stable utility services, the Pakistani investors would come here with investment proposals.
He said Bangladesh can produce good jute as the fibre of jute is equivalent to rami of China, from which the highest standard fabrics in the world are being made.
Replying the queries, the leaders of the visiting Pakistani textile delegation said opposing Bangladesh by Pakistan in the recently-concluded WTO ministerial is a manipulation created by media.
The real fact is that Pakistan tried to get duty-free access of its products to the US markets like other countries, but did not succeed, the Pakistani textile leaders said.
At the seminar APTPMA Chairman Arshad A. Vohra proposed export of Pakistani fabrics to Bangladesh for use in producing woven garments.
"We can export fabrics to Bangladesh. This is the area where the two countries can go for joint venture," Vohra said.
Replying the queries of the Pakistani delegation, Chairman of the Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA) MA Awal said incentive policies are being made by the government.
It depends on the government whether it would give guarantee of utility services to investors of any country for a certain period, Awal said. But, Bangladesh has some lucrative offers from Canada, Australia and Norway, he added.
Zillul Hye Razi, an official of the European Union (EU), said Bangladesh enjoys the EU Everything but Arms (EBA) facility under its LDC status.
India has already lost its Generalised System of Preference (GSP) facility in the EU countries for its fabrics and the same thing may happen to Pakistan also.
He said the EU has given such opportunities to Bangladesh for an indefinite period.
Former chairman of the BTMA, M A Matin said at present the amount of Pakistani investment in the export processing zones (EPZs) is US $ 266 million with at least 400 employees working there.
At the seminar, Jute and Textile Minister Shahjahan Siraj said export of textile items and apparels accounts for more than 77 per cent of the total national export earnings of Bangladesh.
He said the local Primary Textile Sector (PTS) supplies more than 80 per cent of the fabrics required for the export-oriented knitwear industry and about 25 per cent for the woven RMG industry.
The minister, who attended the seminar as chief guest, said his government has initiated various policy measures, such as, duty-free import of capital machinery and primary raw materials, rationalisation of tariffs and taxes on dyes and chemicals, reduction of interest on long term loans and programmes for trade-related capacity building.