One-stop service under one roof
Media: The Independent
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina formally inaugurated the country’s first World Trade Center (WTC) in the Agrabad area of Chittagong on January 30, with a view to expand and simplify business. The project also aims to create opportunities for various businesses under one roof.
With the inauguration of the WTC, Bangladesh is now connected to the global WTC network. It is expected that this will help augment the country’s export basket and promote Bangladesh’s export-oriented goods in foreign markets.
Leaders of the Chittagong Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) said the WTC has been built in Chittagong because the port is the business hub of the country.
The WTC has club facilities, a trade information centre, exhibition halls, office spaces, bank branches, video-conferencing facilities, secretarial services, translation services, a shopping mall, a food court, conference rooms, health clubs, banquet halls, billiard rooms, snooker rooms, tennis courts, and swimming pools in the building.
CCCI has been a member of the World Trade Center Association (WTCA) in New York, the mother body of all WTCs.
The WTC houses the largest export-oriented goods exhibition centre, which was set up at a cost of Tk. 5 crore. A total of 132 Bangladeshi export-oriented goods will be displayed at this centre.
Buyers need not visit the factories; they can make business deals with manufacturers at the WTC itself.
After visiting the exhibition centre, foreign buyers can visit the manufacturers’ factories in the WTC-owned helipad, thereby avoiding traffic congestion and saving time.
CCCI president Mahbubul Alam told The Independent, “We have brought all the export items of Bangladesh under one roof and have exhibited them individually. Here, we have exhibited 132 items. If buyers want to purchase any product, they can see the samples and directly place their orders here.”
“There are WTCs in all developed countries to boost international business. The WTC in Chittagong is a boon for the businessmen of the country. I believe it would help Bangladesh advance economically. We are planning to launch a helicopter service, which buyers can use to visit their desired places or visit the Chittagong WTC directly from Dhaka to hold meetings and seminars,” he added.
“The WTC will definitely help convert Chittagong it into the real ‘commercial capital’ of the country and boost economic growth. Our exports are being diversified; new products are being added to our export basket. The PM has set our total export target for 2021 at USD 50 billion, but we plan to achieve USD 50 billion in exports in the readymade garments (RMG) sector alone,” said Alam.
“Chittagong’s economic potential is high, as it is the main commercial and port city. The WTC will hugely boost this potential,” he added.
Construction was started on August 29, 2006. The 21-storey complex is built on 75 kathas of land. It has been designed by Concord Architects and Engineers Ltd, and was constructed by Concord Engineers and Construction Ltd. It is the tallest building in Chittagong.
The building is designed in two phases. In the first phase, which is complete, the WTC houses two swimming pools, a 40,000-sq.-ft convention centre of international standards (seventh floor), a modern IT centre (seventh floor), temporary and permanent exhibition halls (eighth floor), the World Trade Centre Club (seventh floor), a media centre (third floor), and office blocks and financial institutions on the first, second, fifth and sixth floors.
The second phase will have a five-star hotel of international standards (from the ninth to the 20th floors), and a helipad on the rooftop. This construction is yet to be completed.
The CCCI chief said they have been consulting many international organisations to build the five-star hotel.
During the inaugural programme in January, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina expressed her hope that the WTC would help generate employment, accelerate growth of businesses, and boost the country’s economy. The Chittagong Chamber Of Commerce & Industry is celebrating its 100 years with the launch of the WTC to help augment the country’s export basket and promote Bangladesh’s export-oriented goods in foreign markets.