FT Online

Published:
2019-04-08 10:54:19 BdST

Brexit won't impact trade between BD and UK


Visiting British Minister of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Mark Field has said business between Bangladesh and the United Kingdom (UK) will be as usual in the post-Brexit era.

"I think that there will be no impact on bilateral trade and commerce and all will be as usual," the minister said in an exclusive interview with a selective group of journalists at a city hotel on Sunday.

He has also assured the government that the UK would continue to back Bangladesh in resolving the Rohingya crisis.

"We understand that the longer stay of the Rohingyas will deteriorate the situation and that is why the UK along with the international community has been working to ensure safe and voluntary repatriation of the Rohingya refugees," he said.

Mr Field has acknowledged that habitation of more than one million Rohingya people in Cox's Bazar is congested and there is a need for relocating them.

But simultaneously he pointed out that the government move to relocate the Rohingya people to Bhasan Char Island should also be voluntary.

Responding to a question whether there would be any drastic measures from the international community like that of Kosovo or Bosnia, Mr Field said the UK hopes that the crisis could be resolved peacefully.

However, he mentioned that pressure was mounting on Myanmar and already several army officers were put under sanction by the UK and some western countries.

The UK state minister also stressed the need for providing vocational training and education to the Rohingya people in case of their longer stay while continuing pressure on Myanmar for ensuring safe repatriation to their homeland.

In reply to another question on sending back BNP senior vice-chairman Tarique Rahman to Bangladesh, Mr Field said things become complicated as there is no extradition treaty between the two countries.

"On the other hand, as per law, we are in not a position to comment on individual's immigration status. British court and police are totally independent. If any evidences would be submitted to them, they would investigate it independently and would take due steps," he added.

Replying to a question on human rights and democracy in Bangladesh, he said the UK wants to see lively debate, a vibrant civil society, and competitive elections.

"And we want to see this flourishing democratic landscape carefully scrutinised and held to account by a free and vibrant media," he mentioned.

He said Bangladeshi diaspora in the UK has lot of issues regarding the Bangladesh elections and politics and he discussed many of those during his meeting with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

Mr Field also highlighted the interests of British educational institutions in opening their campuses in Bangladesh which, according to him, will provide huge opportunity for Bangladeshi students.

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