Bangladesh UK to work together more closely on trade, security issues
DHAKA, Sept 12, 2023 (BSS) - Bangladesh and the United Kingdom showed keen interest to work more closely on economic, trade and security issues as the Brittan's Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) Bangladesh's foreign ministry held the fifth UK-Bangladesh Strategic Dialogue today in Dhaka.
The Dialogue covered the full breadth of the Bangladesh-UK relationship, including political and diplomatic relations, economic, trade and development partnerships, and global, regional and security issues, said a press statement issued by British high commission here.
Bangladesh foreign secretary Masud Bin Momen and FCDO Permanent Under-Secretary Sir Philip Barton co-chaired the dialogue at the Foreign Service Academy in the capital.
"The Dialogue is a reflection of the growing relationship between our two countries, and our desire to work together more closely on our economic, trade and development partnerships and on regional and global security issues," said the statement quoting Si Barton.
During the dialogue, the UK and Bangladesh welcomed the evolution of the bilateral relationship into a modern economic, trade and security partnership, which advances shared global and regional priorities such as tackling climate change and the Rohingya refugee crisis.
The UK, as the second-largest cumulative investor in Bangladesh, welcomed the second Bangladesh-UK Trade and Investment Dialogue earlier this year, and the Aviation Trade and Investment Partnership signed in May.
The two sides agreed to work together to increase mutual prosperity ahead of Bangladesh's graduation from Least Developed Country status.
Bangladesh welcomed the UK's generous Developing Countries Trading Scheme and acknowledged its role in integrating Bangladesh into the global economy, creating stronger trade and investment opportunities.
The UK and Bangladesh agreed to establish a Joint Working Group on migration and returns, and other equities in the justice and home affairs space.
Both countries also agreed to conclude the Standard Operating Procedures governing the returns documentation processes and timescales prior to the first session of this Working Group by October.
"In discussions on democracy and human rights, the UK encouraged free, fair, participatory and peaceful elections so the people of Bangladesh can exercise their democratic rights," the statement said, adding that the UK also underlined the need to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms.
The UK emphasized its commitment to the Indo-Pacific region, as evidenced by membership of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership and ASEAN Dialogue Partner status, while Bangladesh highlighted its recently published Indo-Pacific Outlook.
The UK and Bangladesh agreed to continue cooperation on global and regional security.
The two sides reflected on their strong defence cooperation, and looked forward to the Defence Dialogue that will take place in London next year.
The UK and Bangladesh discussed the negative economic impact of Russia's war in Ukraine.
The UK was clear that Russia should immediately cease attacks on Ukraine's port and grain infrastructure, which are driving up the price of essential goods in Bangladesh and around the world.
The UK stressed its unwavering support for the Ukrainian government and people in the face of this assault on their sovereignty and territorial integrity.
The UK commended Bangladesh for continuing to accommodate over one million Rohingya.
The UK and Bangladesh noted that this population placed a significant burden on Bangladesh, particularly for communities living adjacent to camps.
The UK noted the need for improved livelihood provisions for the Rohingya to ensure a more sustainable return to Rakhine State.
The UK announced a further £3m contribution to the Rohingya response, taking its total contribution since 2017 to £368m.
The UK and Bangladesh reiterated their commitment to the goal of safe, voluntary, and dignified returns to Myanmar as soon as the situation allows.
Both countries expressed appreciation for the UK-Bangladesh Climate Partnership, launched in January 2020, which facilitated the exchange of expertise and whole-of-society engagement and the UK-Bangladesh Climate Accord which was signed in March 2023.
UK and Bangladesh will cooperate closely in the run-up to COP28. Both sides reiterated the urgent need for all countries to take ambitious action to combat climate change.
On the occasion, British High Commissioner to Bangladesh Sarah Cooke said The UK's partnership with Bangladesh represents a unique, historic relationship which contributes much to the prosperity and security of both the countries.