Bangladesh to explore trade areas in Bhutan
13 November 2009
A Bangladeshi business delegation will soon arrive in the country to explore potential areas of bilateral trade. This was disclosed during the visit of Bangladeshi Prime Minister to Bhutan on November 6. During her three-day visit, Prime Minister Sheika Hasina said her government would provide necessary support to Bhutan for its socio-economic and infrastructure development sector besides taking initiatives for increased trade and economic relations. On November 7, the two countries signed a renewed trade agreement. A new trade route has been added in the renewed trade agreement which will enhance trade in the eastern Bhutan. The number of trade commodities has been increased to 90.
Economic Affairs Minister Khandu Wangchuk said the trade agreement would benefit Bhutan’s farmers and help enhance their income.
Lyonchhen Jigmi Y Thinley said, “One of the outcomes of our meeting is that Bangladesh will give free access to 18 major categories of items exported by Bhutan. As farm produce comprise a major share of our exports, this is an extremely meaningful support to the royal government’s effort to eradicate poverty and improve farm and rural income.”
While addressing the banquet hosted by Lyonchhen, Prime Minister Sheika Hasina expressed her strong believe that her visit would boost bilateral ties, reaffirming both the nations’ willingness to enhance cooperation in areas including trade, power and energy, tourism and transit.
Regarding transit between Bangladesh and Bhutan, the Bangladeshi Prime Minister said, “We have already talked to both our friend and neighbour, India.” Once this route is established, she said the Dhaka-Thimphu direct bus service could be started with other normal transportation which would “clearly contribute further in increasing people to people contact along with trade”.
Tourism could be another major area where the two countries could cooperate in attracting tourists from the region, and around the world. “We could prepare alluring packages combining visits to the snowy, white mountain ranges of the Himalayas with the silvery, sandy beaches of Cox’s Bazaar in southern Bangladesh,” Bangladeshi Prime Minister said.
Bangladesh would intensify cooperation in establishing small and medium scale industries in both Bhutan and Bangladesh.
Business bodies of the two countries have signed a memorandum of understanding to promote trade and commerce between the two countries.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said the electricity generated in Bhutan could be exported to neighbouring countries including Bangladesh. She said that, if Bangladesh and Bhutan could reach an agreement on power, they must get Indian approval to make it successful. The two countries would have to construct distribution lines across 50 km of Indian territory for export of electricity from Bhutan.
By Rabi C Dahal