Bangladesh and Japan have recently signed a number of agreements ranging from agriculture to trade and investment to facilitate and further strengthen the strategic partnership that begun with the latest visit of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to Japan.
As, Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina had paid an official four-day visit to Japan recently, the two countries have signed a number of Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) which were bilateral agreements. In addition, private companies from both Bangladesh and Japan have signed a number of memorandums of understanding to expand trade and business in the energy, power, and other industries.
Bangladesh and Japan’s cooperative relationship exemplifies how nations can work together to overcome obstacles and realize common goals even in unstable times. The MoUs that have been signed demonstrate that Bangladesh and Japan’s unshakeable friendship continues to be an inspiration for global alliances and a ray of hope for upcoming partnerships. The signed MoUs are extremely important for Bangladesh as the nation prepares to graduate from the Least Developed Countries (LDC) category in 2026 and harness the macroeconomic stability while confronting the difficulties that come with that.
The eight bilateral MoUs signed at Japanese premier’s premises
Eight documents were signed between Dhaka and Tokyo on April 26, 2023, the second day of PM Sheikh Hasina’s official visit. Concerned parties from the two friendly nations signed agreements on agriculture, metro rail, industrial improvement, ship recycling, customs matters, intellectual property, defense cooperation, ICT and cyber security cooperation. Later, Bangladesh and Japan exchanged the instruments in the presence of their respective premiers at the Office of the Prime Minister in Tokyo.
The signed eight MoUs are-
The fourth agreement is a Memorandum on Defense Cooperation between the Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh and the Government of Japan to promote and strengthen cooperation in the fields of defense dialogue, exchange of visits, education, training, courses, seminars, workshops, technology transfer, and any other agreed-upon activities pertinent thereto.
The first document is a Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) on ‘Agricultural Cooperation for Agricultural Research and Development and Capacity Building’ between the Ministry of Agriculture of Bangladesh and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan.
The second is an agreement on cooperation and mutual assistance in customs matters between the governments of Japan and the People’s Republic of Bangladesh. It aims to ensure the proper application of customs laws, prevent, investigate, and repress any customs violations, and take joint efforts to streamline and harmonize customs procedures.
The third one is MOC between the Ministry of Commerce of Bangladesh and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan titled “Bangladesh-Japan Industrial Development Partnership.” Under this agreement, the government and private sector will explore the possibility of enhancing Bangladesh’s trade performance and diversifying its products.
It also covers jointly exploring the possibility of industrial upgrading in support of a smooth transition from least developed country (LDC) to developing country by 2026 and to build a developed Bangladesh by 2041 under ‘Vision 2041’. This agreement will aid in the establishment of a framework for achieving these objectives.
Transportation and metro rail cooperation:
The fifth is an agreement between Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism and Bangladesh’s Ministry of Road Transport and Bridges to collaborate on metro rail policy, laws, and regulation; technology for infrastructure, rolling stocks, and systems; safety policy and management; and disaster prevention.
The sixth memorandum is a cooperation agreement between the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism and the Bangladeshi Ministry of Industries in the area of Ship Recycling. By 2023’s end, Bangladesh will have made every effort to develop the necessary capacities to join the Hong Kong International Convention (HKC) on ship recycling for the purpose of ensuring the safe and environmentally sound disposal of obsolete vessels.
The Japanese government is committed to helping Bangladesh fulfill its obligations under the HKC and further the country’s progress in ship recycling through measures including the construction of a Treatment, Storage, and Disposal Facility.
To protect intellectual property in the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, the Japan Patent Office and the Department of Patents, Designs, and Trademarks have signed their seventh memorandum of cooperation. Cooperation on promoting understanding of Intellectual Property Right (IPR) systems and practices through the exchange of information and practices, raising public awareness of the significance of IPR, and enhancing IPR systems in order to advance the development of industry and innovation.
The eighth agreement is the MOC between Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Posts, Telecommunications, and Information Technology about issues related to information and communication technology (ICT), particularly cyber security.
MoUs signed by private companies of Bangladesh and Japan
Sheikh Hasina announced that Bangladesh and Japan have effectively elevated their bilateral relations to a “Strategic Partnership” from their previous “Comprehensive Partnership.”
Nine of the eleven memorandums of understanding (MoUs) signed between Japanese and Bangladeshi investors on April 27, 2023, in Tokyo, followed the consensus announced the day before by prime ministers on the elevation of bilateral relations to a “strategic” level.
Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission (BSEC) and Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) held a summit in Tokyo on “Trade and Investment Opportunities between Bangladesh and Japan” on Thursday, and several memoranda of understanding were signed during the event, according to the Foreign Ministry of Bangladesh.
- To further deepen collaboration between the two major areas the Federation of Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) and the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI) inked the first MoU. By sharing information on bilateral trade and economic cooperation, attending events, and identifying common obstacles to trade and investment in both countries, the JCCI and FBCCI will work together to foster closer and more fruitful ties between the business communities of the two countries.
- The second Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between BSEZ (Bangladesh Special Economic Zone) and Lion Corporation for a land deal in BSEZ. LION Kallol Ltd. (“LKL”) is a joint venture company that Lion Corporation and Kallol Limited signed an MoU to form this year; under the terms of the agreement, the two companies will pool their resources to invest in the “BSEZ” with the intention of producing common consumer goods for the country’s domestic market.
- To develop, construct, and manage a high-efficiency 700MW combined cycle gas-fired power plant in Anowara, Chattogram, KEPCO, AKH. PP Project, and Itochu have signed the third MoU. The facility was planned with hydrogen co-firing in mind, and it takes advantage of Kansai’s operations and maintenance know-how. In 2019, a preliminary feasibility study was conducted thanks to funding from METI.
- Doreen Group and Marubeni have inked the fourth MoU to develop and invest in solar energy projects together. Asian Entech Power Corporation Limited and Marubeni Corporation have agreed to collaborate on the investment and development of new power projects in Bangladesh, including solar power projects with a combined capacity of 600 MW.
- BJIT and Marubeni have inked the fifth MoU to form a commercial and capital collaboration. enterprise and financial ties will be formed between BJIT, Bangladesh’s preeminent IT services provider, and Marubeni’s next-generation enterprise. BJIT and Marubeni want to transform BJIT into a next-generation global IT firm by integrating their respective IT and technical skills.
- AICHI Health Care Group and MEDINA Dental Company have inked the sixth memorandum of understanding to create a dental laboratory in Bangladesh that meets Japanese standards.
- To develop a 200 MW floating and ground mounted solar power plant in Bangladesh, Parker Bangladesh Ltd. and Sumitomo Corporation have inked the seventh MoU.
- In order to establish a new cybersecurity training center in Bangladesh, Eero Vigil and Pipeline signed the eighth MoU. Pipeline, a provider of cybersecurity solutions and services, and its business partner, Euro Vigil, intend to open a new cybersecurity training facility. The center will scout out prospective employers and facilitate student introductions to them. The mission is to arm students with the knowledge and experience they’ll need to become secure IT professionals.
- Summit Group and JERA have inked the ninth MoU to establish a joint venture to construct energy infrastructure in Bangladesh. JERA is the largest utility company in Japan. The energy infrastructure, gas supply, LNG supply, and storage facilities in Bangladesh will all benefit from this MoU.
- The Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission (BSEC) and the Financial Services Agency (FSA) have signed their tenth MoU to promote collaboration between the two organizations.
- The eleventh MoU was signed between the Bangladesh Association of Software & Information Services (BASIS) and the Japan Information Technology Services Industry Association (JISA) to establish mutual cooperation to encourage and promote collaborations between the Parties and to share knowledge and conduct business exchanges between members of both Parties in the ICT industry.
These partnerships are beneficial for Bangladesh as these will encourage more Japanese investment, innovation, technology transfer and export diversification in Bangladesh. The partnership will also steer towards the possibility of signing a bilateral Economic Partnership Agreement which may well-position Bangladesh to overcome the erosion of duty-free access in the Japanese market during the post-LDC era.
Cover Photo credit: Yeasin Kabir Joy