A.S.A Bari

A.S.A Bari, Barrister-at-Law, is the Managing Partner of A.S & Associater and is an Advocate of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh. Mr. Bari is a Legal 500 and Global Law Experts recommended, lawyer and has been ranked as a ‘Recognized’ practitioner by Chambers & Partners, as “Leading Practitioner” by AsiaLaw and as “Highly Regarded” Practitioner by IFLR1000. He leads Corporate Advisory, Corporate Financing & Capital Market, Energy & Power Sector, Banking & Financial Institutes and Taxation related practices of the Firm. 

He is known as one of the leading legal experts in the fields of Corporate and Project Finance, Foreign Exchange, Capital Market, Banking & Non-Banking Financial Institutions and Income Tax. In a jurisdiction where legal professional is still heavily dominated by litigation lawyers, Mr. Bari is one of the handful few lawyers in Bangladesh who has expertise in the financial and investment sectors and has working experience with some of the leading Banking and Financial Institutions operating in the country. Mr. Bari has represented local and international sponsors, investors, banks and financial institutions, and power generation companies with project financing matters in some of the most prominent infrastructure projects in Bangladesh, including the most tax efficient structure for such investments. 

He has also assisted other clients with complex financial transactions, e.g. M&A, Issuance of Commercial Papers, Cumulative Redeemable Preference Share, Bond Documentation and Syndicated financing, ensuring such transactions are most beneficial for the Clients in respect of taxation. In recognition of his expertise in the field of foreign investment, he has been appointed as one of the Legal Advisers of Bangladesh Investment Development Authority, working towards legislative and G2B Process reform for increasing foreign investment in the country.

Mr. Bari completed his legal studies from University of London and was called to the Bar of England and Wales by the Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn of United Kingdom. Mr. Bari completed his LL.M and PGDL from ICSL of UK. He is member of the Lincoln’s Inn (UK), Bangladesh Supreme Court Bar Association, International Bar Association, Dhaka Bar Association and Taxes Bar Association.

Firm Description

Bangladesh is a booming economy, recently making the list of low-middle income countries as per the World Bank. According to the IMF, the Bangladeshi economy is projected to grow from $180 billion to $322 billion by 2021. The rate of GDP in 2015 was $195.1 Billion and the gradually escalating growth rate was 6.6%. High-growth domestic markets, government support, lower valuations of takeover targets and ready access to capital have provided unprecedented opportunities for investors all across the world to explore new market in Bangladesh. Bangladesh is already one of the leading FDI targets in the Asia Pacific.

In the last six years, net FDI inflows into Bangladesh have grown enormously, hitting $2.2 billion in 2015. China alone, as per the Chinese ambassador to Bangladesh, is planning to increase the Chinese FDI in Bangladesh by 50% in the coming years. The Government has taken initiatives for developing the infrastructure of the country through Public Private Partnership (PPP) to sustain the growth in the economy. Bangladesh has the third largest capital market of South Asia with two full-fledged automated stock exchanges, hosted on computer based trading system. Consequently, the country is seeing more and more of direct foreign and local investments in different corporate sectors and in the capital market.

The increased need of investment is facilitated by various legislations, development of infrastructure through Public Private Partnership and supported by multiple commercial banks, financing corporations and NBFIs (As per Bangladesh Bank’s report, there are 56 scheduled banks, 4 non-scheduled banks and 31 Financial Institutions and 9 Foreign Commercial Banks are operating in Bangladesh). Furthermore, tax holiday for new businesses has been given and special Economic Zones (EZs) have been established to facilitate the business growth.

Bangladesh has 1, 66,000 sq. km area of sea, abundance with living and non-living resources and has more than 200 rivers all around the country, with a total length of about 22,155 km, which occupy about 11% of total area of the country. Major export and import of Bangladesh (about 85%) depends on the ports. To facilitate the process, the Government has installed a new Deep Sea Port on the Bay of Bengal, in addition to the two previous Ports.

The Government has given highest priority to the power sector development in Bangladesh and is committed to make electricity available to all citizens by 2021. The Government has initiated implementing reform measures in the power sector, including significant development programs. As of April 2016, total installed generation capacity was 12,339 Megawatt (MW) including 6,440 MW in the public sector and 5899 Megawatt in the private sector. According to the Power Sector Master Plan, installed capacity will rise to 30,000 MW by the year 2021. To reach this goal, the Government is facilitating establishment of multiple LNG, Coal, Solar and Wind based power plants on BOT or BOO basis.

In the Real Estate Sector, the number of registered members of Real Estate & Housing Association of Bangladesh (REHAB), an association for the real estate developers, have increased from 11 in 1991 to 1151 in 2016. Each year approximately 9,000 to 10,000 units of apartments and approximately 5,000 to 6,000 units of plot are being delivered by these Real Estate ventures. Hand in hand, the Tourism and Hospitality sector is growing as well. International brands are opening their hotels and resorts in Bangladesh. Telecom sector has seen mobile penetration growth that has exceeded all expectations and gradually brining the Government’s vision of DIGITAL BANGLADESH into reality. In recent years, the Telecommunication Sector of Bangladesh has seen some bold moves from the operators and the regulators, including merger of two of the leading providers and takeover of one operator by a foreign operator. 

Telecom sector is having transformative impact on the economy in terms of aggregate investment, Foreign Direct Investment and productivity levels. The Government of Bangladesh has revisited its taxation policy for mobile telecommunication industry for creating opportunity for them to reach out to poor population of rural Bangladesh. Such decision will surely attract more investment by the telecommunications operators. The government is planning to accelerate the process of introducing new telecommunication technologies (e.g., 4G, LTE) in the telecom sector through transparent licensing system within shortest possible time. Within the Health Sector, Bangladesh’s pharmaceutical industry was valued at about $1.5 billion in 2013, expected to grow at more than 3 times the rate of GDP growth. Based on IMF World Economic Outlook GDP projections and a GDP/Pharmaceutical ratio of 3.3 percent the pharmaceutical industry growth rate is expected to be 23% for the next 10 years, with revenues reaching $4 billion in 2016 and $9 billion by 2020. In 2015, to expand the horizon of this sector, the Government issued permission for establishing the first ever Clinical Research Organization in Bangladesh.

Dr. Sharif Bhuiyan

Sharif Bhuiyan, LLM, PhD, University of Cambridge, is an Advocate enrolled in both the High Court and the Appellate Divisions of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh. He is a Founder Partner and Deputy Head of the law firm, Dr Kamal Hossain & Associates and leads the firm’s international and commercial practice, including arbitration.

He was Honorary Director of the South Asian Institute of Advanced Legal and Human Rights Studies (2007-14), Co-Rapporteur of the Committee on International Trade Law, International Law Association (2009-14) and Visiting Fellow at the Lauterpacht Centre for International Law, University of Cambridge (2006).

He is the author of National Law in WTO Law: Effectiveness and Good Governance in the World Trading System (Cambridge/New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007, paperback, 2011), co-editor (with Philippe Sands and Nico Schrijver) of International Law and Developing Countries (Leiden/Boston: Brill Nijhoff, 2014; South Asian edition, 2017) and author of many articles in internationally published books and journals.

Bhuiyan practises in a wide range of areas, including, arbitration, admiralty, aviation, banking, competition, corporate and commercial, employment, energy, insurance, intellectual property, securities, taxation, technology and telecommunication.

He acted as lead counsel in several international commercial arbitrations involving substantial claims and parties and arbitrators of multiple nationalities and as lead Bangladesh counsel in many cross-border projects and transactions, including multibillion dollar transactions, in the energy, infrastructure, telecommunication and various other sectors. He acted as counsel in leading cases on arbitration before the Bangladesh Supreme Court.

Bhuiyan is consistently ranked as a top tier legal practitioner by international practitioners’ directories, Chambers Global and Chambers Asia Pacific.

Bhuiyan also acts as a consultant in various matters, including as a consultant for the World Bank.

Firm Description

Dr. Kamal Hossain and Associates, established in 1980, is one of the largest law firms in Bangladesh. It provides a comprehensive range of legal services for both national and international clients. The firm’s strength lies not only in the breadth of individual expertise available, but also in forty years of institutional experience of advice and litigation in key practice areas.

Firm’s main practice areas include admiralty and shipping, arbitration, aviation, banking and financial regulation, commercial and corporate law, constitutional and administrative law, employment law, energy, human rights law, intellectual property, revenue law, taxation and telecommunications. It has special expertise in arbitration, constitutional and administrative law, infrastructure, oil, gas and power sector projects and in telecommunications.

The firm actively encourages and supports its members in providing pro-bono advice and representation in public interest and human rights cases.

 

S M Zillur Rahman

Rahman IP Solutions is an Intellectual Property (IP) law firm in Bangladesh committed to provide all of its clients, associates the best service in a cost effective manner. It has been providing Intellectual Property related legal services in Bangladesh and abroad for its valued clients and associates with all its expertise and competence.

Now-a-days Intellectual property is a great concern throughout the world and being a part of the globalised society Bangladesh is also emphasizing to develop the awareness and trying with the best effort to cope with the global trend. The consciousness for the protection of Intellectual Property (IP) and its importance are gradually developing in the business community and IP is being considered more significantly day by day. The regularity authority of the IP in Bangladesh (Department of Patents, Designs and Trademarks and Copyright office) has been playing a precious role in protecting the well known trademarks in Bangladesh. They have taken a bunch of initiatives to improve the existing system of filing application, registration, maintenance, keeping records, automation etc. The IP issue has got further significance in Bangladesh with the provision of the latest Import Policy Order (2012-15) that for all the branded importing goods the IP registration certificates of the concerned countries have to be submitted to the Customs Authority for clearance.

In the emergence of such a situation Rahman IP Solutions is promised to take the privilege to provide the benefits to the inventors, clients, associates by helping them in the process of taking protection of their Intellectual Property rights in Bangladesh and abroad as well. Because “We believe IP really matters.”

It is our motivation to follow the business ethics and provide the sincere and best services to the valued clients and associates. We believe and it is our confidence that we can meet our commitment for the utmost satisfaction of our esteemed clients and associates. We strongly believe that service comes first and the reward is the logical consequence.

Delwar Hossain

Advocates IP Law Alliance is an exclusive intellectual property law firm, located in the centre of the capital city of Dhaka. It is a leading firm dedicated to providing legal services on all IP matters, and represents the world’s most renowned brands and business houses.
The firm is a member of various international prestigious associations, such as APAA, AIPPI, ECTA, FICPI, IPO, INTA, LESI and MARQUES. It is also a member firm of Kenton & Miles Business and Financial Advisors (Italy), and leading associate of Brandstock AG, among others.
Advocates IP Law Alliance’s services for the protection of intellectual property rights include: legal action for infringement of trademark; passing off; trademark violation; unlawful importation; trademark, patent and design filing; renewal; search; prosecution; and all administrative work.
Delwar Hossain, Advocates IP Law Alliance managing partner, commented: “The system is developing in our country. The companies have also started growing and recently they are taking care of their intellectual property rights. But I would say that the companies are still not aware that intellectual property is one of their main assets.
“There are provisions for protection of intellectual property rights but, in fact, it is very difficult to deal with IP crimes effectively as the law enforcing agencies are not aware of current situation and development.
“In our system it is now possible to register the services under classes 35 to 44 since introducing the new Trademarks Act, 2009. Presently we do not see any differences of legislation with the neighbouring countries.”
The Trademarks Act, 2009 is a recent addition to Bangladesh IP law. The government introduced the registration of services and at the same time increased the fees, in some cases up to 15 times. The department is yet to be automated and, currently, all of its systems are manual. A trademark registration usually takes around two years, but presently it takes much longer.
Mr Hossian noted: “The Donor Agencies are working hard to improve the situation in the department. They have nominated people to monitor the development and the next step is to upgrade the department, automate the system and shift it to an independent place, perhaps within the second capital, Agargaon, where World Bank and Asian Banks offices are situated.”