Dhaka intends to conclude Free Trade Agreement with Tokyo, says finance minister
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen has said there is an enormous scope for the private sectors of Bangladesh and Japan to engage in trade and investment for mutual benefit.
"We intend to conclude a Free Trade Agreement with Japan. These will create enormous scope for private sectors of the two countries," he said while addressing a webinar on “Bangabandhu and Japan” held recently.
Momen also informed Bangladesh is now implementing a number of mega-projects for connectivity and power generation with Japan.
"We are engaged in Public-Private Economic Dialogue for strengthening business and investment ties," he said, adding that a special Export Processing Zone is being set up in Araihazar, Narayanganj for the Japanese investors.
Over the years, the relationship has further deepened and widened, Momen further added.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has ensured through her visits in 1997, 2014, and 2019 that the relationship continues to grow for mutual benefit, he informed.
Japanese Prime Ministers have also visited Bangladesh, the latest being the immediate past Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in 2019.
"These high-level engagements have driven our relations towards an upward trajectory," said Momen.\
Department of Japanese Studies, University of Dhaka and Japan-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry jointly organized the webinar recently to celebrate the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen, Professor ASM Maksud Kamal, pro-vice-chancellor (Academic), University of Dhaka; and Naoki Ito, ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to Bangladesh spoke as special guests at the webinar.
The webinar was chaired by Dr Abdullah-Al-Mamun, chairman of, Department of Japanese Studies, University of Dhaka.
The speakers of the webinar were Dr Muhammad Abdul Mazid, ex-secretary to the Government of Bangladesh and Advisor, JBCCI; and Mayumi Murayama, executive vice president, IDE-JETRO, Japan.
Yuji Ando, president of JBCCI delivered the welcome speech while Tareq Rafi Bhuiyan (Jun), secretary-general of JBCCI delivered the vote of thanks.
The speakers discussed the contribution of Bangabandhu in building the solid foundation of bilateral relations between Japan and Bangladesh.
Momen said that Bangabandhu believed in the Japanese model of development and sought cooperation from Japan in rebuilding the war-torn country immediately after independence.
Bangabandhu’s friendship with Takashi Hayakawa, at that time the Member of National Diet—popularly known as Bangladesh, played a very crucial role in building the rock-solid foundation of friendship between the two nations, said the Chief Guest.
Masud Bin Momen also recalled the assistance of Japan during the Liberation War in 1971.
Professor Maksud Kamal, pro-vice-chancellor (Academic) of the University of Dhaka, spoke on the foresightedness of Bangabandhu while building up diplomatic ties with Japan.
Naoki Ito, while speaking as a special guest, stressed the need for promoting Japan-Bangladesh diplomatic relationships for building Sonar Bangla, as dreamt by the Father of the Nation.
As a speaker, Mayumi Murayama, executive vice president of IDE-JETRO, Japan has emphasized improving research activities where she thinks, Department of Japanese Studies can play a pivotal role too.
As the chair of the webinar, Dr Abdullah-Al-Mamun mentioned that the role of Bangabandhu in establishing the bilateral relationship between Japan and Bangladesh is still underrated.
There are a lot of opportunities to study Bangabandhu and Japan. He has called for more research by JETRO, JBCCI, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Bangladesh, Embassy of Japan in Bangladesh where the Department of Japanese Studies, University of Dhaka will render all-out support.