Not all industrial growth in Bangladesh was stimulated by anticipation of foreign sales. The national economy stood to benefit equally from domestic production that could eliminate the need for imports of one kind or another. A good example of importsubstitution manufacturing was the pharmaceutical industry, a field that attracted both foreign and domestic investment in the first decade of independence, based on the large potential domestic market. The Drug Ordinance of 1982 introduced controversy and claims by foreign firms that they were victims of discrimination vis-à-vis local pharmaceutical firms. The foreign firms found that the ordinance restricted the kinds of drugs they could manufacture, import, and sell; specifically, foreign pharmaceutical firms could no longer manufacture drugs that Bangladeshi-owned companies were capable of producing. The difficulties foreign investors have encountered seem to have been limited essentially to this one industry, and even there the foreign firms already established have managed to cope more or less successfully. In 1988 one United States firm announced a decision to expand its Bangladeshi manufacturing operations by moving into production of highly specialized medicines with greater profit margins.
Public sector corporations produced a substantial part of the country's paper and newsprint requirements, as well as carrying on sugar-refining operations at modest-sized mills in several parts of the country. They also produced about 100,000 tons of steel per year, 1 million tons of petroleum products, and gasoline pumps, radios, television sets, bicycles, paints and varnishes, cement, and industrial chemicals.
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