And, at the Kaliakoir Bangabandhu Hi-Tech Park, local company Fair Technology is now preparing an assembly plant for Hyundai Motors and by the end of this year, Hyundai cars will be assembled locally, he said.
Lee Jang-keun was speaking at the national day celebration at a city hotel yesterday.
He said with shared values and goals, Korea and Bangladesh have enjoyed excellent relations in every field for the last 49 years since the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1973.
Korea has stood side by side with Bangladesh in its journey of remarkable socio-economic achievement since its independence, of which Korea is very proud, the Korean envoy said.
Korea and Korean companies have been with Bangladesh in the beginning, growing and thriving of Bangladesh’s RMG industry. The partnership between Bangladesh Desh Garment and Korean company Daewoo Corporation in 1979 planted the seeds of the Bangladesh RMG industry.
The first country-specific private Export Processing Zone, KEPZ established in Chattogram has been a symbol of Korea-Bangladesh business ties. Korea is currently the fifth largest FDI investor in Bangladesh, more than 70 percent of Korea’s investment is in the RMG sector. Therefore, diversifying areas of cooperation beyond the RMG is one of the most pressing challenges.
Lee Jang-keun said the bilateral trade reached a historic high in 2022 recording $2.3 billion dollars.
On the front of development cooperation, Bangladesh has been one of the priority partner countries of Korean development cooperation being the 3rd largest recipient of Korean ODA.
In addition to the budgetary support of 150 million dollars to help cope with the Covid-19 pandemic last year, the Korean government recently decided to significantly increase its development loans to Bangladesh from $700 million to $3 billion for the period of the next five years.
Another important area of Korea-Bangladesh relations is the increasing number of Bangladesh expatriate workers admitted to Korea through the EPS, Employment Permit System. Every year on average 2,000 expatriate workers are newly employed in Korea, and the remittance they send back home reached $209 million in 2019/20 fiscal year.
This year the number of Bangladesh workers going to Korea has more than doubled and is expected to be almost 5,000. But the important thing is not just the number of workers or the amount of remittance but their Korean experiences are changing their and their families’ lives.
He said he met recently two ex-Bangladesh expatriate workers returning from Korea — both are now running medium-sized companies. They are the living testimony of what Korea and Bangladesh friendship looks like.
“Undoubtedly, these expatriate workers are becoming more and more unique and invaluable assets in taking our bilateral relations into a higher level.”
Now, Korea and Bangladesh are set to celebrate the 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties in 2023. Our Golden Jubilee next year will be a milestone year for the future of Korea-Bangladesh friendship and partnership, the Korean diplomat said.
Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Imran Ahmad thanked South Korea for its commitment to the development of Bangladesh and expected the tie to grow increasingly in the coming days.
He sought Korea’s continued support in Rohingya repatriation.