Bangladesh and Cambodia are likely to sign a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) to boost the bilateral trade between the two Asian countries.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, at a bilateral meeting here in New York on Thursday, agreed to consider the matter to further expand trade cooperation.
Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen said this while briefing the reporters about the activities of PM Sheikh Hasina on the sidelines of the 77th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).
The bilateral meeting, held at her place of residence, discussed issues of bilateral cooperation between Bangladesh and Cambodia.
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Sheikh Hasina proposed signing an FTA with Cambodia, while her Cambodian counterpart Hun Sen agreed to this proposal.
A free trade agreement allows duty-free access of products to the markets of the partner countries and thus promotes expansion of trade and services. Under FTA countries also agree to certain obligations in the trading of goods and services and protection of investments.
Bangladesh is seeking to sign FTAs with several countries to gain duty-free access to their markets as it prepares to graduate from a least developed country to a developing one by 2026.
According to Momen the Cambodian PM also expressed his interest in signing an agreement on the export of rice from Cambodia to Bangladesh.
He also invited Bangladesh to invest in agricultural and physical infrastructural development in Cambodia.
Hun Sen assured the Bangladesh prime minister that Cambodia, as the chair of ASEAN, will continue all efforts to resolve the Rohingya issue, said Momen.
Also on Thursday PM Hasina held a meeting with IOM Director General António Vitorino at her place of residence here in New York.
In the meeting, the premier said the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) can assist the migrant-sending countries by making effective recommendations to address the challenges the countries are facing due to Covid pandemic and the Ukraine war.
Sheikh Hasina thanked IOM for its cooperation in repatriating Bangladeshi victims of trafficking to various countries including Libya and the European Union.
The IOM Director General appreciated the steps taken by Bangladesh for the welfare of migrants and expressed hope that the areas of cooperation between Bangladesh and IOM would expand in future, said the Bangladesh foreign minister.
Later, the Bangladesh premier held another bilateral meeting with President of Kosovo Vjosa Osmani-Sadriu at the same place.
In the meeting, the issues of bilateral cooperation between Bangladesh and Kosovo were discussed.
Leaders of Bangladesh Hindu-Buddhist-Christian Unity Council also called on the prime minister at the same venue on Thursday.
State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam was also present at the press briefing.