WTO Deputy Director-General visits BASIS


Mr. Harsha Vardhana Singh, World Trade Organization (WTO) Deputy Director-General, who among other responsibilities is supervising the WTO's Trade in Services Division, has met with a team of Board Members of BASIS led by Ms. Farhana Rahman, to hear about the activities of the association, the contribution of the Netherlands Trust Fund II (NTFII) project to the development of the Bangladeshi IT & IT-enabled services industry, seek views of the industry association about their main concerns, and discuss possible future areas of cooperation.

BASIS explained and appreciated the NTFII project funded by the Dutch Centre For the Promotion of Imports from Developing Countries (CBI) with the International Trade Centre (ITC), and mentioned that once the present project is successfully implemented, BASIS would like to use ITC to grow to the higher stage of value addition. It identified three main domestic constraints, namely operational space, power and skilled personnel. Of these, the most binding constraint was availability of adequate skilled persons.  In this regard, they had been in touch with some Indian firms such as WIPRO and hoped to take this initiative forward with the ITC as well.

Mr. Singh, who is very knowledgeable about the offshoring business, said that he was very impressed with BASIS, and the services it provides to the industry. He was also impressed by the competence achieved by the Bangladeshi IT industry and the great potential of the local BPO and software industry. He encouraged BASIS to pursue their development goals and feels that Bangladesh has the right ambition to move upmarket over time. In this context, he viewed the NTFII Bangladesh project as a useful vehicle to increase visibility and market share with the aim to move ahead in the value chain.

Furthermore, the WTO Deputy Director-General showed great interest in the association's plan to launch a Professional Institute of Training for its capacity-building activities. BASIS is already offering highly specialized courses on dot.net, android and iPhone apps development and more. He suggested that ITC could also co-ordinate their approach to Indian companies such as WIPRO, Infosys and TCS to help develop high quality and well-structured training programs for BASIS and the industry.

Altogether, Mr. Singh reckoned that Bangladesh was an upcoming global sourcing location and encouraged wholeheartedly the BASIS Board in their endeavours and welcomed the ITC/CBI initiative to support BASIS in this effort.

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