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Dhaka Tribune

British high commissioner, state minister discuss bilateral ties

The state minister called for more British investment in Bangladesh’s startups, services and the IT sector

Update : 06 Jul 2023, 11:11 PM

New British High Commissioner to Bangladesh Sarah Cooke paid her maiden courtesy call on State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam on Thursday at his office.

Congratulating the new high commissioner, the state minister described the historic friendly relations between the two countries as true “Brit-Bangla Bondhon,” based on strong foundations like a large Bangladeshi diaspora in the UK, enhanced trade and investment relations, according to the foreign ministry.

He thanked the UK government for DFQF (duty-free, quota-free) market access until 2029, before emphasizing the need for continuation of the facilities until 2032 and British investment in startups, services and the IT sector, among others. 

He appreciated the humanitarian and political support of the UK government for the forcibly displaced Rohingyas, temporarily sheltered in Bangladesh.

Reform of existing labour laws, improvement of labour conditions, green transition, the scope for cooperation on climate issues, facilitation of visas for Bangladeshi students, upcoming general election and Bangladesh's candidacy for the IMO secretary general election were highlighted by the state minister. 

Referring to the newer dimension of aviation cooperation, he hoped for further assistance from the UK in Bangladesh's pursuit of becoming an aviation hub.

Commenting that Bangladesh-UK relations had transformed from development assistance-driven to a more strategic and economic partnership, the high commissioner expressed her satisfaction with the immense socio-economic progress Bangladesh had achieved.

She observed that Bangladesh would be the leading beneficiary of the UK's new Developing Countries Trading Scheme (DCTS) and hoped that it would help Bangladesh increase its exports and diversify its economy.

She expressed the UK's desire to share knowledge, expertise and technology in the aviation sector, deeper engagement and cooperation on climate issues, and political support in different multilateral forums on the Rohingya crisis.

She conveyed the desire of some British educational institutions to extend their operation in Dhaka and the possibility of substantial investment by British Investment International (BII) in Bangladesh. 

The British high commissioner requested Bangladesh's support for the continuation of the Black Sea Grain Initiative (BSGI) and hoped for free and fair general election in Bangladesh.


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