The Daily Star | 14 May 2023
Bangladesh, Vietnam eye FTA to boost economic relations
Bangladesh and Vietnam have agreed to explore possibilities of concluding a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) in order to add further substance to the steadily increasing bilateral trade and economic relations between the two regional countries, particularly in the context of the LDC graduation of Bangladesh.
The issue was discussed at the second Foreign Office Consultations (FOC) held between Bangladesh and Vietnam at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Dhaka today.
Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen led the Bangladesh delegation, while a nine-member Vietnamese delegation was led by Deputy Foreign Minister of Vietnam Hung Viet.
Highlighting the lucrative incentives and facilities offered by Bangladesh for Foreign Direct Investment, the foreign secretary encouraged the Vietnamese business community and entrepreneurs to avail the opportunities, particularly in the Economic Zones of Bangladesh, for mutual benefit.
The two sides stressed the importance of maintaining the momentum through the regular exchange of high-level visits and agreed to organize the Joint Trade Commission meeting in Dhaka this year, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Bangladesh also proposed the formation of the Joint Commission at the Foreign Ministers’ level for comprehensive cooperation.
Both sides stressed the importance of direct air links for facilitating trade, commerce and investment and for accelerating tourism and people-to-people contact.
Both Dhaka and Hanoi agreed to explore the possibility of initiating direct flights at the earliest.
Foreign Secretary Masud Momen requested Vietnam to play a more proactive role bilaterally and within the Asean framework for expeditious repatriation of the Rohingya people from Bangladesh to their homeland in Myanmar.
He also sought an expeditious inclusion of Bangladesh as a Sectoral Dialogue Partner of Asean.
Both heads of delegations recalled with gratitude the historic event of the establishment of Diplomatic ties between the two countries in 1973.
As this year marks the Golden Jubilee of Diplomatic ties between the two friendly countries, the meeting appreciates the joint celebration of the watershed event with commemorative programmes in Dhaka and Hanoi.
Both sides welcomed regular dialogue and meetings of bilateral mechanisms.
The head of delegations hoped that this second FOC would help inject further vigour and momentum into the existing excellent bilateral relations for making it more collaborative and constructive and fruitful.
The next FOC will be held in Vietnam on a mutually convenient date, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The entire gamut of the bilateral relations, including cooperation in the areas of trade and commerce, investment, energy, halal trade, tourism and culture, education, health, defence, and security, agriculture, fisheries and livestock, ICT and telecommunication, and direct air link came under discussion.
They also exchanged views on issues of mutual interests in the regional and international arena.
Both sides expressed optimism that the consultations, held after a hiatus of almost six years, would contribute significantly to adding further impetus and momentum to the existing bilateral engagements.
Both sides expressed satisfaction at the current level of bilateral cooperation and stressed further deepening the synergies through prudent utilization of the available complementarities.