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Monday, 12 March 2012

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SL offers H'tota port facilities to B'desh

The fourth round of the Bangladesh-Sri Lanka Joint Economic Commission (JEC) meeting ended in Dhaka Thursday with a call to further expand cooperation between the two nations.


Minister Rishad Bathiudeen

Both sides agreed that there was much scope to enhance bilateral relations in various fields. Finance Minister AMA Muhith led the Bangladeshi team while Minister for Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen led the Sri Lankan team. At the end of the meeting at a joint press briefing Muhith, said “ Sri Lanka offered Bangladesh to use its newly built deep seaport at Hambantota ‘which will be helpful to us'. “Let's explore the benefit since Hambantota port users wouldn't need to go inside Colombo. That will help save time”, Muhith said.

He said Sri Lankan investors have some investment in Bangladesh, but ‘our investment there is almost nil'.Expressing hope of much better cooperation among the two countries in future the finance minister said despite three decades of conflict , Sri Lanka has done well in economic and human development.

“Sri Lanka has a resilient economy that even the global recession could not jolt,” he said. Rishad Bathiudeen said the two counties maintain very friendly relations. He urged Bangladeshi entrepreneurs to invest in Sri Lanka and enjoy various facilities offered by the government. He said during the meeting the two sides have agreed to further enhance bilateral trade and cooperation in the fields of commerce, industry, agriculture, shipping, civil aviation and tourism, ICT and education.

Bathiudeen said the bilateral trade between the two nations is only US$71 million which can be increased manifold. He also requested the Bangladeshi business community for joint venture investment in pharmaceuticals, textile, apparel, ICT and hospitality industry.

Meeting sources said the two sides agreed they would undertake measures for trade facilitation, including identification and removal of non-tariff barriers and simplification and harmonization of mutually-recognized standards which will help attain the expected level of trade growth.

The next round of the Joint Economic Commission will be held in Colombo at a date to be set latter, the meeting decided.

During the visit of President Mahinda Rajapaksa to Bangladesh in 2011 the two countries recognized that the Joint Economic Commission was an effective mechanism to further boost bilateral cooperations.

Financial Express-Bangladesh

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