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DHAKA Saturday 22 September 2012, 07 Ashwin 1419, BS 5 Zilqad 1433 HIJRI
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Slovakia keen to expand trade with BangladeshSlovak envoy says in an interview→ Durjoy Roy
 Ambassador of Slovakia to Bangladesh, Based in New Delhi, Marian Tomasik said Friday his government is looking forward to expanding trade with Bangladesh, as this country holds a great deal of economic potential.

He spoke of the plan in an exclusive interview with the East West Media Group’s four media outlets—the Daily Sun, Daily Kaler Kantho, Daily Bangladesh Pratidin and Banglanews24.com—at Hotel Westin in Dhaka.

As part of Slovakia’s attempt to expand trade with Bangladesh, besides talking to the representatives of the government of Bangladesh, he has also talked to the representative of Bashundhara Group, Marian said.

“Slovakia is thinking to increase trade between the two countries. I have talked during this visit with representatives of the ministry of foreign affairs; we discussed possibility of establishing Joint Business Council between the two countries, possibility of signing MoU between the respective chamber of commerce of the two countries,” the ambassador said.

“I have also met with representative of Bashundhara Group, which is at the moment considering more cooperation with Slovak companies to open branch office of the company in Slovakia and identify possibilities of economic cooperation and also possible investment of this important Group in Slovakia. Slovakia may be suitable point for that.”

In reply to a query as to what kinds of products of Bashundhara Group Slovakia may import, Marian said, “So far we have not discussed details. We are just in the beginning. More talks are needed in this regard. But despite many possibilities in various sectors, there is nothing concrete at this moment.”

In response to a query the Slovak envoy said Slovakia exports engineering products, mainly chemicals, to Bangladesh but the quantity of the exports is not so high.

About relationship between Bangladesh and Slovakia he said traditionally good relation exists between the two countries since the independence of Bangladesh as Czechoslovakia supported Bangladesh’s war for independence, and since then, the two countries have maintained good relations.

“After Slovakia was established on 1st January 1993 there started a new chapter of our relations with Bangladesh,” he added.

About trade between the two countries Marian said, “Although we do not have political ties but economic ties are improving and trade turnover is improving. Last year, Slovakia imported various products from Bangladesh mainly textile worth more than 100 million Euro. Slovakia is a small country with five and a half million people with a small market but the import worth more than 100 million Euro is quite high.”

About setting up a full-fledged embassy in Bangladesh, the Slovak ambassador said the country is yet to establish an embassy in Dhaka due to financial reason and it is also not possible to establish it at present. But they have a plan to establish an embassy in Dhaka.

“We have an honorary consul in Dhaka. Mr Miral Ali, who is doing very well, is a young dynamic businessman. I am very pleased with him. His father was also an honorary consul in Dhaka,” he said.

About the ongoing political activities in Bangladesh Marian said being a diplomat he is aware of Bangladesh politics and he follows the political activities here but his country follows the policy of not interference in Bangladesh’s politics.

“But we support all positive steps and reform works of the government. We want a prosperous and peaceful Bangladesh,” the diplomat said.

The ambassador is very much hopeful that Bangladesh will be a middle- income country in the near future and he believes that this is the century when China, India, Japan and South East Asian countries will play the vital role in financial activities of the century.

“The present economy of Bangladesh is a surprise. I am sure you will make progress,” Marian said.

About relationship among India, Bangladesh and other neighbouring countries, he said as the biggest country of this area India is trying to keep up good relationship with the other countries.

About transit issue between Bangladesh and India he said Slovakia has many transits with its neighbouring countries. “I wish you (Bangladesh and India) to do the same but I understand it is more complicated.”

About Nobel laureate Professor Yunus and Grameen Bank he said Yunus has also got a reward from Slovakia and he termed Yunus as one of the most famous persons in Bangladesh.

In response to a query about the recent killing of US ambassador in Libya he said that’s definitely a terrible crime—killing innocent people is violence. “A small group of fundamentalist people have done it.”

The Slovak ambassador termed Bangladesh as a very tolerant country, which is a great sign of wisdom.

About Palestine issue he said, “I surely support the right of people of Palestine. It’s a very complicated issue but there should have a solution.”
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