US-based EXIM Bank yesterday extended an offer to give easy loans to the Bangladesh government and private entrepreneurs to boost economic development in the country.
Bangladesh can use the loans to purchase aircraft, machinery, satellites and power equipment, the bank's Chairman Fred Hochberg said at a luncheon meeting of American Chamber of Commerce in Bangladesh, at the Westin Dhaka.
Hochberg referred to loans to Bangladesh Biman a few years ago to purchase four Boeing planes. The US EXIM Bank provides loans to foreign clients in sectors that eventually increase the export potential of US goods and services.
In 2011 and 2013, the bank had financed more than $500 million to allow Biman to acquire four Boeing 777-300ER long-range passenger aircraft. “Fostering jobs and economic growth are the primary goals of EXIM Bank.”
Bangladesh is an important market for the US, as it has been maintaining economic growth at 6.5 percent over the years and the income of the middle-class consumers is also increasing, said Hochberg.
American companies are especially interested in helping Bangladesh meet its ambitious infrastructure investment goals with sustainable and quality services and goods, he added.
He suggested improving infrastructure and the ease of doing business in Bangladesh so that more foreign direct investment, even from the US, can come here.
During his visit to Dhaka, he met with the business community and ministers to assure them that the EXIM Bank will assist the American firms to compete for Bangladeshi business.
Since President Barack Obama took office, the bank has supported over $650 million in US exports to Bangladesh -- more than any previous administration, he said.
Hochberg said 90 percent of their customers are small and medium enterprises. So, Bangladesh has a lot of potential investors and they can take loans for their enterprises, he added.
“Bangladesh is becoming an increasingly important market for the US for higher growth potential,” said Marcia Stephens Bloom Bernicat, the US ambassador to Bangladesh.
Similarly, the US also wants to be a partner of the growth potential for the next decade, she added.
Attracting foreign investment is critically important for the economic development of Bangladesh, Bernicat said.
Nurul Islam, president of AmCham, said EXIM Bank invests in sectors that mainly create jobs. For example, the bank provided $1 billion to Vietnam in the manufacturing sector three years ago, which created a lot of jobs there, he added.