“We should place greater emphasis on economic cooperation, focus on promoting mutual benefits and effectively recognize the role economic exchanges play in deepening bilateral relations and friendships”: H E Dr A K Abdul Momen, Hon’ble Foreign Minister of Bangladesh
Speaking at the Interactive Business Meeting, organized by CII jointly with Bangladesh High Commission in India, on June 18th, 2022, H E Dr A K Abdul Momen, Hon’ble Foreign Minister of Bangladesh, said, “As India and Bangladesh celebrate the 50th anniversary of their diplomatic relations, the two countries bonded by nature, history, and culture, should explore further opportunities to enter new areas of cooperation and connectivity as it is the key apparatus to usher in economic prosperity, and thereby forge a progressive partnership for a peaceful, prosperous and progressive region.” He further said that Bangladesh has good air, road and railway connectivity and emphasized that water connectivity has a lot of potential with 54 rivers flowing from India.
Dr A K Abdul Momen further mentioned that Bangladesh has entered into various preferential and free trade deals and has conducted feasibility studies on 23 countries for bilateral and regional trade agreements and FTAs, and these can be taken advantage of by Indian industry. Further, he stated that the country has earmarked and is promoting two special economic zones exclusively for India which can be the manufacturing hub for Indian companies who can produce goods at an affordable prices. He added that cooperation between private sectors would help create synergies and provide much needed impetus for mutually beneficial economic partnership.
H E Mr Muhammad Imran, Bangladesh High Commissioner to India, stated, “The Joint Consultative Commission (JCC) co-chaired by the External Affairs Minister of India and Foreign Minister of Bangladesh would review all possible areas of cooperation between the two countries and opportunities in the realm of trade, commerce, investment and areas of common economic goals.” He said that India and Bangladesh are working closely to re-establish physical connectivity through waterways and various land routes.
Mr Vikram Doraiswamy, Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh, mentioned, “India and Bangladesh have a common priority for development and we need to understand that liberation will really be achieved when we have ensured that we have wiped off poverty and created prosperity for all the 1.5 billion people in the sub-region.” He further mentioned that trade had gone up by 3 times in the last 6 years from US$ 6 billion to US $ 18 billion. Mr Doraiswamy called for quick movement towards a Comprehensive Partnership Agreement (CEPA), for which a joint study would be finalized in the next few months to recommend this and start negotiations.
Mr Vinayak Chatterjee, Chairman, CII Mission on Infrastructure, Trade and Investment stated, “India’s partnership with Bangladesh is unique and acts as a role model in the region for other neighboring countries. Both sides have scaled up trade and economic engagement and implemented a number of connectivity and infrastructure projects.” Mr Chatterjee further mentioned that Indian Industry believed that building mutual stakes in each other’s development was the best strategy for closer ties. “For this, Indian industry would like to further boost its investments in Bangladesh,” he added.
In her concluding remarks, Ms Mashfee Binte Shams, Secretary (East), Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government of Bangladesh said, “With Bangladesh’s enhanced manufacturing capacity, it can be the source of India’s imports at competitive prices and quality products, and can be a destination for investment for Indian companies looking to expand their overseas footprint. We in Bangladesh are ready to welcome entrepreneurs, investors and business persons to join the journey and together we can go a long way for our mutual benefit.”
June 18, 2022