Terming economic affairs as a key aspect and one of the priorities in foreign policy, Bangladesh and Mexico have agreed to create a Joint Working Group between the governments to explore the potential untapped areas and take advantage of their respective economic opportunities.
Both sides at a meeting also expressed their firm convictions in finding new avenues to further deepen the existing friendly bilateral relationship.
Toufiq Islam Shatil, Director General (Americas) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dhaka led the Bangladesh Delegation whereas Ambassador Claudia Franco Hijuelos, Director General (Asia-Pacific) of Mexican Foreign Ministry led the Mexican delegation.
As members of delegations of their respective countries, Bangladesh Ambassador to Mexico, Ms. Abida Islam and Federico Salas Lotfe Ambassador of Mexico to India, concurring to Bangladesh, actively participated during the discussions.
The leader of the Bangladesh delegation emphasized the need to carry forward the momentum that was created during the successful visit of the State Minister for Foreign Affairs in September 2021 while attending the 200- year celebration of Mexican Independence.
Bangladesh side requested for opening a resident mission of Mexico in Dhaka in near future. Mexican side proposed to form a Parliamentary Friendship Group between lawmakers of two countries.
In the area of trade and investment, Bangladesh highlighted the impressive investment possibilities and benefits provided by the Government to the foreign investors.
Referring to the recently concluded MOU between COMCE and the FBCCI in September 2021, both sides stressed on their frequent engagements even in virtual platforms in the coming days.
With regards to the Agreement on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Customs Matters, the Mexican side conveyed that upon review of the draft Agreement, they will share it with its Bangladesh counterparts for their consideration.
Under the segment of bilateral cooperation, MoU between Diplomatic Academies, Promotion of Gender Equality, MoU on Cooperation in the Field of Culture as well as Cooperation in the Field of Higher Education were discussed.
It has been learned from the Mexican side that the discussion with regards to the MOU regarding an exchange program between the Diplomatic Academies of Mexico and Bangladesh is ongoing and is expected to be conclude soon.
The issue of gender equality features prominently during the discussion and both sides agreed to work closely and share their best practices to promote gender equality in their respective organizations and countries.
The Mexican side further stated that the National Institute of Anthropology and History of Mexico is presently reviewing the MOU regarding cultural cooperation proposed by Bangladesh side and Mexican Secretariat of Public Education is still working with the proposed MOU of Bangladesh on Cooperation in the Field of Higher Education.
During the consultations, the two sides also discussed possible cooperation in mutually beneficial areas at regional and multilateral level including the United Nations.
To improve the people-to-people contacts, the Bangladesh side requested the Mexican government to establish a Visa Facilitation Services (VFS) Center in Dhaka or adopt any other mechanisms so that Bangladesh nationals could provide all the required information including the biometrics without traveling to India.
He also requested to exempt visas for diplomatic and official passport holders. Presently, in absence of a Mexican Embassy in Dhaka, Bangladeshi visa seekers have to travel to New Delhi to provide their biometrics to obtain Mexican visa and the situation has further worsened owing to the restrictions and limitations associated with COVID-19 pandemic.
Ambassador Claudia Franco took note of the concerns of Bangladesh and said that Mexico is continuously evaluating the need for openingnew consular offices in different parts of the world.
However, the Director General (Consular Affairs), who was also present at the meeting, assured to find ways to bring both the countries closer in terms of people-to-people contacts. Regarding the exemption of visas for diplomatic and official passport holders, Ambassador Claudia Franco said that the concerned office is reviewing the draft to find out the likelihood of this agreement.
Lastly, the Bangladesh side received a positive response from its Mexican counterparts regarding its proposal to enhance military cooperation and sharing its vast experience in the tourism sector. Bangladesh has already shown its interest by sending a 39-member military contingent who participated at the 200-year Celebration of Mexican Independence at the National Palace in Mexico City.
Ambassador Claudia Franco confirmed that Mexico will reciprocate this kind gesture of Bangladesh by sending a military delegation to Dhaka to participate at the forthcoming Victory Day celebration in December 2021.