Dhaka keen to sign PTA with Male

Two MoUs signed

12 February, 2021 12:00 AM printer

Bangladesh has expressed its interest to enter into a Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) with the Maldives within the purview of the WTO provisions, with a view to harnessing the trade potentials.

The two countries observed that there is more potential for increased bilateral trade and noted the absence of a formal trade agreement between Bangladesh and Maldives, reports UNB.

Bangladesh and the Maldives have also agreed to establish the Joint Commission for Compre-hensive Cooperation led by the two Foreign Ministers and the annual Foreign Office Consultations (FOC) through signing relevant MoUs during the upcoming visit of Maldives’ President to Bangladesh in March.

Foreign Minister of Bangladesh Dr AK Abdul Momen stated that Maldives President Abdulla  Solih’s presence in the Mujib Year celebrations would be an important testament to the enduring friendship between the two nations, according to the joint communiqué issued on Thursday.

 During the visit of Maldives Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid, Bangladesh and Maldives signed MoUs between Foreign Service Institute of Maldives and Foreign Service Academy (FSA) of Bangladesh; and MoU on Placement of Human Resources. The two Foreign Ministers discussed the forthcoming visit of President of Maldives Ibrahim Solih to Dhaka in March 2021 to join the celebrations of the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the Golden Jubilee of the independence of Bangladesh.

The two Foreign Ministers also agreed that the proposed MoU on cooperation in the field of fisheries would be signed during President Solih’s visit to Bangladesh in March 2021. At the invitation of Foreign Minister Dr Momen, Abdulla Shahid made an official visit to Bangladesh on February 8-11.

The Foreign Minister of Maldives was accompanied by the Foreign Secretary of Maldives Abdul Ghafoor Mohamed and Joint Secretary Fathimath Ghina of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Maldives.

The two Foreign Ministers held a bilateral meeting on February 9 in a warm and friendly atmosphere, reflective of the renewed dynamism and historically close relationship between the two countries. They reviewed the entire gamut of bilateral relations and agreed to extend cooperation to a number of novel areas, with increased focus on exploring commerce and trade.

Following the bilateral meeting, the Bangladesh Foreign Minister hosted a luncheon in honour of the visiting Foreign Minister of Maldives.

The Foreign Minister of Maldives visited the Bangabandhu Memorial Museum and paid courtesy calls on the President and the Prime Minister of Bangladesh on February 10. Foreign Minister Shahid noted that the Bangladeshi expatriates were making substantial contributions to the economy of Maldives. Appreciating the regularization program launched by the Ministry of Economic Development of Maldives in 2019 to legalize undocumented workers, Foreign Minister Dr. Momen requested the Government of Maldives to regularize the remaining undocumented Bangladeshi expatriates at an accelerated pace.

The Maldives Foreign Minister stated that a moratorium on recruitment of new unskilled human resources, is expected to remain until the regularization of existing undocumented expatriates was completed; he also clarified that Maldives would continue to welcome skilled workforce from Bangladesh as before.