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Dhaka Tribune

Dhaka in talks with Moscow to import oil

'A number of initiatives regarding supplies of Russian crude and refined oil are being discussed'

Update : 25 Aug 2022, 05:30 PM

Bangladesh is in discussion with Russia to procure crude and refined oil, the Russian envoy in Dhaka said Wednesday, as an alternative trading arrangement was considered as a last resort amid a global crisis.

“A number of initiatives regarding supplies of Russian crude and refined oil are being discussed, both at intergovernmental and business-to-business levels,” Ambassador Alexander Mantytskiy said at a media briefing.

He said that samples of Russian crude oil would be made available to Bangladeshi experts to find whether that can be refined here.

He also informed that preliminary discussions have started to explore the mechanisms to replace the US dollar in bilateral trade between the two countries.

"Mutual efforts by our governments and business communities made it possible to increase the bilateral turnover manifold. In 2021, it reached an all-time high of almost $3 billion," Mantytskiy further said.

"The unilateral sanctions imposed by the US, EU and Great Britain and subsequent breach of production and logistics chains led to a huge setback in global trade. A number of Russian banks were excluded from the Swift system, which affected transactions with foreign economic partners."

But, he notes, at the same time, now both Russian and Bangladeshi companies are getting accustomed to the new reality.

Some of them are using alternative transportation routes to continue mutually beneficial trade. A large amount of items have been delivered by air.

On August 1, a Russian cargo ship reached the port of Mongla for the first time since the beginning of the “special military operation”, thus marking the restoration of trade through waterways, he mentioned.

"As a result, even in the first quarter of 2022, the turnover between our two countries amounted to a solid volume of $650 million, which is only slightly less than during the same period of 2021".

In spite of the widespread delusion that all Russian banks came under sanctions, there are only 14 financial institutions that cannot provide services to the Bangladeshi partners due to the economic restrictions.

The bilateral trade operations are being carried out successfully through the other Russian banks not affected by the western restrictions, the Russian envoy told the press, adding that the Central Bank of the Russian Federation and the Bangladesh Bank remain in close contact discussing the ways to open correspondent accounts.

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