The world economy is experiencing stream of continuous changes in order to integrate itself to achieve the desired objective of economic globalization for growth and prosperity for all, irrespective of regions. Trends in economic policies in both developed and developing countries have been greatly influenced by globalization and as a matter of fact, trade liberalization has become its main impulse.

There exist powerful technical, economic and political forces that would render the world economy even more globalized in the future than today. There is little scope for the world to turn back from this process.

Many economic powerhouses are emerging and as a result the relative economic power of states is progressively shifting. All the countries, particularly signatories of WTO document, are taking note of these significant changes and assessing the standing of their respective economies and implications on their citizens, their culture and life styles. No doubt, stakes are enormous, yet unprecedented sets of opportunities and challenges have been created.

The increased opportunities also have created additional risks like precipitating financial instability. The global economy has suffered several costly financial crisis over the last decade like East Asian economic crisis. Plunging assets, major bouts of exchange, market volatility, crisis in emerging markets and collapse of several major financial institutions in both developed and emerging markets, and on-going severe economic crises in some of the South American countries underscore the major weakness of the globalization process.

The globalization of economies thus poses challenges both for the developed and developing world. Bangladesh itself has been confronting a multitude of global challenges, both internal and external. The impact of globalization has generated some kind of governmental, social and ethical pressure on the business sector in most countries that have embraced trade liberalization to regulate itself with due diligence, accountability and transparency.

Goldman Sachs in the Global Economics Paper No.133, published in December 2005, has introduced the concept of “Next Eleven” or “N-11” i.e countries having tremendous growth potentials. This new group includes Bangladesh along with Egypt, Indonesia,Iran,Republic of Korea, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan,the Philippines, Turkey and Vietnam.

To keep pace with the other members of “N-11”, the businesses in Bangladesh too have to play their due role in protecting their own interest side by side safeguarding the national interest without affecting the on-going process of globalization.

ICC Bangladesh, the National Committee of the Paris based International Chamber of Commerce, The world business organization, in particular plays a proactive role in safeguarding the interest of the domestic producers and business but not at the cost of the consumers.

ICC Bangladesh since its inception in 1994, has been playing lead role in the development and the growth of external trade and investment of the country. The National Committee works closely with the Government and major trade bodies of the Country in reforming regulations to modernize business sector.

ICC Bangladesh has assisted the Government to develop Information Technology (IT) Act, which is now being implemented. The lead role played by ICCB for the modernization of Arbitration and Alternative Dispute Resolution Act, which is considered to be a milestone achievement, will definitely help to curtail dispute among businesses. Simplification of modernization of Customs regulations, Taxes and its procedure is another important area where ICC Bangladesh is playing a major role.

The National Committee has, for creation of public-private partnership for fostering trade and investment has played a lead role in the formation of Bangladesh Foreign Trade Institute (BFTI) as a private-public institute.

In order to assist the local business for settlement of commercial disputes ICC Bangladesh has taken the lead role in establishment of Bangladesh International Arbitration Centre jointly with two main trade bodied of the country – namely, the Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce & Industry (MCCI), Dhaka and The Dhaka Chamber of Commerce & Industry (DCCI.).

The National Committee from the very beginning has been playing a pioneering role by arranging international conferences, seminars, workshops, dialogue for professionals of banks, non-banking financial institutions, insurance companies, multinational and national companies, trade bodies and business houses for improving their expertise and keep abreast with latest tools in dealing developing their technical capabilities in dealing with various trade and investment issues.

ICC Bangladesh, with the co-operation and support of the 10 organisation members and 109 corporate members, would continue to serve the business community, government and all other stakeholders.

ICC Bangladesh is launching its new website with the aim of dissemination of information for the business at home and broad.

May I, therefore, take this opportunity to request all concerned to help us in this direction by providing intellectual inputs to the website as well as their contribution. I invite you to come and join us in our pace-setting endeavour in the changed scenario of world business.

Mahbubur Rahman
ICC Bangladesh