November 27, 2022, 9:55 pm


Diplomatic correspondent

Published:
2022-11-16 21:51:40 BdST

Bangladesh, Singapore inked deal to facilitate negotiations for a FTA


Bangladesh and Singapore on Wednesday (Nov 16) signed a deal with a view to facilitate the negotiations for a free trade agreement between the two countries.

Commerce Minister of Bangladesh Tipu Munshi and S Iswaran, the Singaporean Minister for Transportation and Trade Relations signed the Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) at the Ministry of Commerce in Dhaka.

Adviser to the Prime Minister of Bangladesh on Private Industry and Investment Salman Fazlur Rahman was also present on the occasion.

Describing the MoC as the important very first step towards an FTA, both the Ministers hailed the signing as a befitting part of the golden jubilee celebrations of bilateral diplomatic ties between Bangladesh and Singapore.

The Singaporean Minister also said Singapore is keen to explore the many possibilities that exist in its bilateral relations with Bangladesh and looks forward to harnessing the potentials to raise it to the next level.

This was shared by S Iswaran during his bilateral meeting with State Minister for Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh Md. Shahriar Alam in Dhaka also on Wednesday (Nov 16).

Iswran is currently on a two-day official visit to Bangladesh on the occasion of the golden jubilee of the establishment of diplomatic ties between Bangladesh and Singapore.

During the meeting, the two Ministers exchanged views on important areas of the bilateral relations which both of them lauded as being strong and time-tested. Both Ministers discussed the measures their respective governments adopted for maintaining the momentum of their economies during COVID-19 pandemic.

The State Minister thanked the Singapore Government for their continuous support to the Bangladeshi expatriates during the challenging times of the pandemic. He also observed that Singapore could consider intake of more skilled workers from Bangladesh especially in their health and other service sectors.

Singaporean Minister appreciated hardworking Bangladeshi workers and their contribution to their construction and other sectors. Both Ministers discussed how demographic dividends could be reaped with the use of advanced technology and digitization.

While mentioning Singapore as a connectivity hub for distribution of services as well as trade, State Minister Shahriar Alam shared the aspirations of Bangladesh to emerge as a facilitator of regional connectivity for the land locked countries and regions of South Asia.

Highlighting the need for more investment in infrastructure development, including sea ports and air ports, the State Minister urged for more Singaporean investments to facilitate Bangladesh’s transition as a regional connectivity and manufacturing hub.

He also flagged the high agricultural productivity in Bangladesh and the prospects of agro-based industries in the country, with special emphasis on the burgeoning middle-class consumers enjoying increasingly higher purchasing capacity.

The Singaporean Minister applauded sustained economic growth of Bangladesh under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and stressed the importance of further deepening and widening the economic relations between the two countries.

He shared Singaporean’s keenness on working in the areas of infrastructure development, energy sector, data mining and various high skilled areas such as digital connectivity and services, technology transfer for further enhancement of bilateral relations.

Earlier in the day, the Singaporean Minister held meeting with the State Minister for Civil Aviation and Tourism Md. Mahbub Ali and discussed potential areas of cooperation for further strengthening the tourism sector of Bangladesh.

They exchanged views on the possible ‘greening’ of the new airports and civil aviation infrastructures by using the renewable energy.

Later in the day S Iswaran, held bilateral talks with the State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid and agreed to make further coordinated steps for enhanced and advanced cooperation and collaboration in the energy sector of Bangladesh through more Singaporean investments.

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