Both are promising countries for foreign investors: Guner Ureya
Ambassador of the Republic of Kosovo in Bangladesh Guner Ureya said, Both Kosovo and Bangladesh are promising countries for foreign investors and both countries have areas of investment that should be explored. Since such a situation exists between Kosovo and Bangladesh, the importance of joint ventures rather than mutual direct investments is appearing. If both parties can bring a part of the manufacturing capacity of Bangladesh on one side and Kosovo on another side with its capacities as a country next-door to big consumer markets, together they can create an incredible synergy. If both parties manufacture together and target third-country markets, they may achieve excellent results.
He said this in an interview with Bangladesh Travel Writers Association (BDTWA) recently.
In this interview, Lee Guner Ureya also said,
BDTWA president Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal, executive member Shakil Bin Mushtaq and Md. Zakaria Mondol were present in the interview session.
Here is the interview of the Excellency-
Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal: According to the current state of both country’s bilateral trade status, how does H.E see future trade relations?
Guner Ureya: Considering the fact that only a few years ago, we had almost zero trade between the two countries, we should not underestimate our current trading volume. According to the Kosovo Agency of Statistics in 2021 trade volume between the two countries was around 13,200,000 Euros. In the first 8 months of 2022, our trade volume was around 11,602,000 Euro. These figures are very promising. Kosovo is pleased with the improvement in trade and other relations between the two countries and is confident that the trade volume will steadily increase in the upcoming years.
Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal: How can we work together for Bangladesh–Kosovo’s bilateral tourism development?
Guner Ureya: The most important factor affecting tourism cooperation is mutual perceptions. It is strengthened by multifaceted cooperation and convergence of mutual perception. Cooperation in cultural, trade, and other fields will both increase interaction and help us get to know each other better. In addition to all these, tourism portfolios of both sides, attractions, modern infrastructure, and promotional events like fairs and familiarization trips, will also lead to the development of our cooperation in the field of tourism.
Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal: Which country has the most investment in KOSOVO and in which sector?
Guner Ureya: Most of FDIs are from Switzerland, Germany, Türkiye, the United Kingdom and Albania, particularly in real estate and services. There are considerable foreign investments in the manufacturing sector as well.
Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal: What are the challenges you see for more Kosovo investment in Bangladesh?
Guner Ureya: Let me clarify a thing. Both Kosovo and Bangladesh are promising countries for foreign investors and both countries have areas of investment that should be explored. Since such a situation exists between Kosovo and Bangladesh, the importance of joint ventures rather than mutual direct investments is appearing. If both parties can bring a part of the manufacturing capacity of Bangladesh on one side and Kosovo on another side with its capacities as a country next-door to big consumer markets, together they can create an incredible synergy. If both parties manufacture together and target third-country markets, they may achieve excellent results.
Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal: Many people visit to TURKEY from Bangladesh and its only 1h 40 minutes from Istanbul to Kosovo. Can Kosovo consider this for the frequent travelers to visit Kosovo and facilitate their Tourist visa from BANGLADESH?
Guner Ureya: Tourism is very important for the promotion of the values of our countries and for our economies. Sure, we recommend tourists visiting the countries of the region to visit Kosovo as well. We also started to provide visa services at our Embassy in Dhaka. Besides Kosovar visas, those who have multiple Schengen visas can easily visit our beautiful country. Our doors are always open to those who want to see the beauties of Kosovo. I just have to highlight an issue. There are those who see tourism as an area of exploitation for illegal immigration. As Kosovo, we are very strict on this and we do not allow such abuses.
Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal: How do you see Bangladesh economically in 10 or 20 years?
Guner Ureya: If you keep this development trend and ensure progress in income sharing, your country will be qualified as developed as planned in 2041. Economic growth will lead to the allocation of more financial tools for better infrastructure. Investments to be made in areas such as education and health will help the development of the whole society. In a word, a more prosperous atmosphere will be provided for everyone.
Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal: Have you visited any tourist places in Bangladesh? How were your experiences? Do you have any favorite places in Bangladesh?
Guner Ureya: Alongside historical monuments and sites, Cox's Bazar caught my attention. The routes to the historical places are tiresome, but you feel good after you arrive. Cox's Bazaar is excellent, but there is still a lot of work to be done to attract foreign tourists. Accommodation prices in the hotels are very high there. This is a situation related to the high demand for accommodation from domestic tourists. Honestly speaking, more investments and other arrangements are required to attract foreign tourists in Cox’s Bazar. In the tourism sector, "being only beautiful" is not a sufficient criterion for success.
Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal: During your stay in Bangladesh what impressed you the most?
Guner Ureya: The hospitality and friendliness of Bangladeshi people fascinated me the most. Your people are very nice and friendly.
Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal: During your stay in Bangladesh what disappointed you the most?
Guner Ureya: Traffic.
Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal: How many Kosovo citizens live in Bangladesh? What are the major reasons behind their stay?
Guner Ureya: We have a very small number of Kosovars with residence in Bangladesh. Besides diplomats and their family members, there are Kosovars working for international organizations.
Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal: What are the top five exports and Imports between Kosovo and Bangladesh? Are there any potential sectors that both countries are missing?
Guner Ureya: I'm sure that in a few years we'll be counting to 5 or even more articles of import and export between the two countries. Currently, the main trade items are RMG. Of course, there is also the modest pharmaceutical products trade. Food, furniture but also ICT services are among other potential sectors for the trade of goods and services between the two countries.
Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal: How many Bangladeshi students go to Kosovo each year and how many of them got Scholarships?
Guner Ureya: The doors of Kosovo universities are open to international students. We would be pleased to have Bangladeshi students studying in our country. So far, we have identified only one Bangladeshi graduate from one of Kosovo's universities. We hope this number will increase. For the first time, there is ongoing work on a scheme for a scholarship for international students in Kosovo. An announcement will be made once the process is completed.
Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal: Is there any High official visit this year and how many were in between the two countries?
Guner Ureya: Recently, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, H.E. Mr. Kreshnik Ahmeti visited Dhaka. On the other side, Hon'ble Minister of Education of Bangladesh participated Women Peace Security Forum held in Prishtina on 22-23 October 2022. The Prime Ministers of both countries have sent invitations to each other for an official visit. Both Excellences have very busy schedules. I hope it comes about soon.
Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal: Is there any tax-free agreement/FTA between Kosovo and Bangladesh?
Guner Ureya: There is an ongoing process of negotiation for the finalization of the Agreement for Economic Cooperation and Agreement on Avoidance of Double Taxation and Prevention of Fiscal Evasion between the two countries. On the other hand, the Stabilization and Accession Agreement with the European Union is in force and Kosovo’s aim is to be a part of this great European family through the integration process. Therefore, we have to comply with EU criteria regarding FTAs. Our trade arrangements with Bangladesh will proceed in parallel with the arrangements your country will make with the EU.
Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal: We heard one Kosovar Girl has been to Bangladesh and wrote about BANGLADESH, we will be happy to have her write up about Bangladesh and what were her experiences in Bangladesh?
Guner Ureya: Yes, Ms. Lavdi Zymberi visited different parts of Bangladesh and she left here with friendly impressions. As far as I know, she posts her impressions on her own blog. I will forward your write-up request to her.
Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal: BDTWA wishes to invite some Kosovar Travel Writer, Professional photographer to visit Bangladesh for 7 to 10 days and BDTWA wish to visit Kosovo as well to write a travel book and to make a travel blog about Kosovo, can you arrange a FAM trip to Kosovo?
Guner Ureya: Of course, we are aware that such familiarization trips are important. We have organized such trips for tour operators and journalists from a few countries before. In the future, taking into account the demands and priorities of the stakeholders in the tourism sector, we can organize such an event between Kosovo and Bangladesh as well.