Bangladesh, UAE to boost cooperation during PM’s visit

Bangladesh and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are likely to sign four to five MoUs during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s upcoming visit to the Gulf nation to further strengthen the bilateral relations.

“This visit will play an important role in keeping the labor market intact and creating new avenues of investment in Bangladesh to strengthen the economic relations,” Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen told the media at state guesthouse Padma on Sunday afternoon.

He said Bangladesh wants to enhance trade and investment between the two countries through more collaboration.

Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen, Secretary (East) Mashfee Binte Shams and senior officials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs were also present.

Before the media briefing, the foreign minister had a meeting with relevant ministers and PM’s Private Industry and Investment Adviser Salman F Rahman at the same venue to review the investment proposals that came from the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

Hasina is scheduled to leave for UAE on Monday as the two countries eye to elevate the relationship to a comprehensive partnership with deeper political engagement. She will return home on March 12.

She is going to the UAE at the invitation of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, ruler of Dubai and vice-president of the United Arab Emirates and will also attend a programme at “Expo 2020 Dubai” on March 8 marking the International Women’s Day, said the Foreign Minister.

The prime minister has agreed to visit the UAE with the intention of highlighting the image of the country and its achievements in the economic sector including empowerment of women in Bangladesh, Momen said.

Trade and commerce; investment, manpower and cooperation in other potential areas including renewable energy will be discussed during the visit.

He said during the last financial year, about 30,000 workers from Bangladesh went to the UAE. “We hope that this number will increase in the future.”

In terms of bilateral trade with the UAE, Momen said the imports and exports volume stood around US$ 2 billion but the trade deficit now stands at US$ 1.5 billion.

“The main reason is that we import fuel from them. This visit will be important to increase the volume of our exports to that country. That is why the two countries will discuss ways to establish the direct shipping line,” said the foreign minister.

Bangladesh, UAE to boost cooperation during PM’s visit

Besides, a joint business forum will be organized between the business community of the two countries which he thinks will be very beneficial for business and trade creating new avenues for investment in Bangladesh.

The PM will have a meeting with Sheikh Fatima, the Mother of the United Arab Emirates, which is a rare opportunity, said Momen.

She will also visit the Bangladesh Pavilion at Dubai Expo where the story of Bangladesh from last year, the success story of Bangladesh has been faithfully presented to the whole world.

During her visit, the prime minister will lay the foundation stone of the new campus of the Bangladeshi Community School, Bangladesh English Private School at Ras Al Khaimah.

Responding to a question, Momen said the government has a plan to construct three “Bay Terminals” in Chattagram and one of the Bay Terminals is likely to be implemented by the DP World of the UAE. “It’s under active consideration.”

Bangladesh and the United Arab Emirates have already reviewed the bilateral relations between the two countries especially in view of the visit of the prime minister to the UAE.

Momen held a bilateral meeting with the UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah-bin-Zayed Al Nahyan in Dubai last month and discussed the issues of mutual interest and upcoming visit.

The two countries acknowledge the existing “excellent” bilateral relations and underlined the need to work together in all potential areas for the mutual benefits of the two peoples.

The two countries are discussing ways to enhance air and maritime connectivity, especially establishing direct shipping links between the two countries’ seaports and introducing direct cargo flights to maintain seamless and uninterrupted supply chains.

The two countries are also willing to explore new contours of collaboration in the field of agriculture and food security, culture, cooperation in the field of science, innovation and technology with focus on ICT, IoT and digitalization in order to elevate the relationship to a comprehensive partnership.

Source: United News of Bangladesh