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Published:
2019-04-16 11:00:28 BdST

Dhaka, Thimphu to sign transit agreement soon


An agreement on the movement of goods in transit between Bangladesh and Bhutan will be finalised soon at the next commerce secretary-level meeting.

This was revealed in a joint statement on the state visit of Bhutanese Prime Minister Dr. Lotay Tshering, to Bangladesh issued by the Foreign Ministry.

The joint statement referred to the meeting between Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her Bhutanese counterpart.

It said the two premiers welcomed the signing of the standard of procedure (SOP) for the operationalisation of the MoU on the 'Use of Inland Waterways for Transportation of Bilateral Trade and Transit Cargoes' between Bangladesh and Bhutan.

"The two Prime Ministers noted the expanding bilateral trade and acknowledged its importance in further cementing the friendship between the two countries," the joint statement said.

"They agreed to allow duty-free access to additional 16 items proposed by Bhutan and 10 items proposed by Bangladesh for which both sides shall expedite the process," it said.

The two premiers welcomed the ongoing discussions among Bangladesh, Bhutan and India on the proposed trilateral cooperation in hydroelectric power.

They noted that a trilateral meeting of the power secretaries could be held in this regard.

"They underscored that collaboration in this sector can further strengthen regional cooperation, encourage use of renewable energy and mitigate climate change challenges," the joint statement said. "The Prime Minister of Bhutan recalled Bangladesh's offer of internet bandwidth and satellite services, and welcomed the offer."

The two sides also exchanged views on the cooperation in other regional and international fora namely, SAARC, BIMSTEC, and the UN, and noted the commonality of their views and positions on all major issues and agreed to continue to work together for mutual benefit.

At the invitation of Sheikh Hasina, Dr Lotay Tshering, paid a state visit to Bangladesh from 12-15 April 2019, coinciding with the festive period of the Bangla New Year Pahela Baishakh.

The Prime Minister of Bhutan was accompanied by his spouse Dr. Ugyen Dema, the foreign minister, the health minister, other senior government officials of Bhutan, and a business delegation.

The visit by Dr Lotay Tshering was the first by a head of government to Bangladesh since Hasina assumed office as the Prime Minister and leader of the 11th Parliament.

Meanwhile, UNB adds: Bangladesh and Bhutan think the proposed trilateral cooperation with India in hydroelectric power can further "strengthen regional cooperation, encourage the use of renewable energy and mitigate climate change challenges".

The Bhutanese Prime Minister wrapped up his four-day state visit to Bangladesh on Monday that expected to further "strengthen the bonds of friendship" between the two countries.

Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen and State Minister for Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief Dr Md Enamur Rahman saw the Bhutanese Prime Minister off at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in the morning, said an official.

Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque was, among others, present.

The two prime ministers noted the expanding bilateral trade and acknowledged its importance in further cementing the friendship between the two countries.

The Prime Minister of Bhutan extended an invitation to Sheikh Hasina to visit Bhutan at a convenient time.

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