The Least Developed Country (LDC) status of Bangladesh enables the country to benefit from preferential trade and investment policies sanctioned by European and North American markets. Low cost of labour and lower overhead cost compared to regional peers have enabled the country to operate at a cost advantage and the apparel sector has been the main thrust sector benefitting in the global market, which has catapulted Bangladesh as the second largest apparel manufacturer in the world, next to China. Leather and leather goods, jute products, agro-processing to frozen fish are some of the sectors that have been similarly contributing to the growth of the country.

Over the last decade, the domestic market has undergone rapid transformation, with sharply rising per capita income, rapid urbanization and evolving nuclear family structure and more involvement of women in the workforce. In 2005, 26.8% of the total population lived in urban areas, which have increased to 34.3% in 2015. By 2025, 42% of the population is predicted to be living in urban areas. Urbanization level is expected to grow further in the next ten years with the growing Middle and Affluent Class (MAC) population. There are bright opportunities for investors in both export-oriented sectors and sectors which cater to the burgeoning domestic demand.

The Government of Bangladesh (GoB) has created liberal investment and business operation policies regarding taxation, import duties, work documentation and capital repatriation among others, in a manner that encourages greater foreign investment in the secondary and tertiary sector of the country

  • The Bangladesh government provides five to seven years of tax exemption to international investors planning on operating in certain sectors. Investments in some priority sectors like power, enjoy tax exemption for up to 15 years.¹⁴ Additionally, Bangladesh has a double taxation avoidance agreement with 18+ major trading partners. Bilateral signatories of Double Tax Avoidance (DTA) agreements include Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Poland, Thailand, Netherlands and the UK. Expatriate employees from specific sectors also receive an income tax exemption for up to 3 years

  • Currently, no import duties are applicable for export-oriented sectors. For other sectors, the duty structure is at 5%

  • According to capital repatriation policies, full repatriation of invested capital, profits and dividends are allowed. Foreign investors reinvesting their retained earnings/dividend will have their investment be treated as new and not recurring.

  • An international investor can cash out from investment subject to board approvals and independent valuation conducted by Bangladesh Bank. Once a foreign investor completes formalities for exiting the country, the investor can repatriate the net proceeds after securing proper authorization from the central bank

  • Apart from arms and ammunition, defence machinery and equipment, forest plantation and mechanized extraction, nuclear energy, security printing and mining, all sectors are open for international investments. Companies with 100% foreign ownership can also secure working capital and long-term financing from local financial institutions.

  • Foreign investors are provided multiple entry visas to Bangladesh, which are valid for 3 years. Expats working for the foreign company will also be provided multiple entry visa, based on recommendations from the investor.

  • Investors are accorded citizenship for investing a minimum of USD 500,000 (~BDT 42 million) or by transferring USD 1,000,000 (~BDT 84 million) to any recognized financial institution (non-repatriable). Permanent residency is non-repatriable. provided by investing a minimum of USD 75,000 (~BDT 6.3 million), which is non-repatriable.