Bangladesh and Singapore have been enjoying friendly bilateral relations for last four decades since the establishment of diplomatic relations in February 1972. Bangladesh’s diplomatic representation in Singapore was first made with the opening of a Trade Commission in 1973. A full-fledged Diplomatic Mission, headed by a Resident High Commissioner, was established ten years later in 1983. In April 1997, the Singapore High Commissioner to Bangladesh was appointed with Residence in Singapore. However, Singapore is yet to open a full-fledged Resident Mission in Dhaka. In Bangladesh, Singapore is represented by a Consular Office opened in December 1997.
The relations between the two countries have further been strengthened in the recent years with interactions and initiatives undertaken at various governmental and private levels. Bangladesh and Singapore share a similar international outlook on many issues of mutual interest and enjoy excellent working relations in various international fora including the United Nations. Bangladesh is also member of the ReCAAP (Regional Cooperation for Anti-Piracy in Asia Pacific and ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) pioneered by Singapore. For last few years, Bangladesh has been participating at the Ministerial level at the IISS Asia Security Summit: The Shangri-La Dialogue, which is hosted by International Institute of Strategic Studies in Singapore.
The relationship between Bangladesh and Singapore is multifaceted and based on shared values and common aspirations. Both countries share similar viewpoints on many international and regional issues of mutual interests and regularly support each other’s candidature in elections of international fora. The two countries attended the 2nd Foreign Office Consultations in October 2015 where both countries pledged to work to advance the existing relations by identifying a number of key areas for cooperation. Bangladesh is also active in the realm of second track diplomacy and regularly attends the IISS Security Summit: the Shangri La Dialogue which is annually held in Singapore.
In recent times, Bangladesh has demonstrated strong economic fundamentals with a consistent GDP growth rate of over 6 percent since the present government led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina came to office more than 8 years ago. Bangladesh’s stellar economic performance has led the country to graduate to a lower middle-income nation from a low income one in 2015. Bangladesh is striving hard to reach the milestone of middle-income status by 2021. For this, the country needs foreign investment. To woo foreign investors, the country has already created one of the most liberal investment regimes in South Asia, featuring 100 percent foreign equity with unrestricted exit policy, easy remittance of royalty, repatriation of profits, and protection of foreign investments by creating congenial environment for the investors and reducing the cost of doing business in Bangladesh. Bangladesh also enjoys duty and quota free access to most developed markets which investors can take advantage of. Bangladesh thus offers enormous opportunities for all investors, including those from Singapore. Singapore has already sizeable investment in the energy sector in Bangladesh.
Singapore investors may take an Economic Zone for exclusive Singapore investments in Bangladesh. The High Commission of Bangladesh in Singapore remains committed to facilitating growth of Singapore investment in Bangladesh.
Infrastructure and power are the priority sectors of the present government of Bangladesh. The government has already fast-tracked 10 mega projects of national importance to accelerate national development and entice private sector investment. The government has also plans to build a new international airport in Dhaka feasibility study of which is currently being conducted by a Japanese firm. Singapore investors can invest in the infrastructural development and power project in Bangladesh.
Singapore employs a sizeable number of Bangladeshi workers mainly in its marine and construction sectors. Although official figures of the number of foreign workers in Singapore are not available, our estimate is that nearly hundred and fifty thousand Bangladeshi workers are presently working in Singapore.