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Dhaka seeks more Belgian investment

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Staff reporter
Bangladesh has urged Belgium to further diversify its imports and source pharmaceuticals, ships and IT-enabled services from Bangladesh and sought Belgian investment in prospective areas to enhance trade ties between the two countries.
Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali made the request at a meeting with Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister of Belgium Didier Reynders in Brussels on Monday, according to a Foreign Ministry media release here Tuesday morning.
The Belgian Foreign Minister confirmed his government’s readiness to explore such potentials, and underscored the importance of sending more visiting trade Missions from Belgium to Bangladesh.
Reynders suggested sending a delegation of Bangladesh businesspeople from some selected priority sectors to Belgium to hold consultations with their relevant Belgian counterparts.
On the RMG issue, he said: “We are pleased to follow the progress with reforms in the RMG sector in Bangladesh. We believe that our companies also have their share of responsibilities in ensuring safety and labor rights, and we shall continue to work towards holding them accountable.”
The two Ministers expressed satisfaction at the ever expanding trade relations between the two countries.
Foreign Minister Reynders made reference to Bangladesh’s growing economy and expressed interest in enhanced Belgian investments in promising sectors such as infrastructure development, logistics, renewable energy, waste management, and healthcare.
The Belgian Minister further proposed concluding framework instruments to facilitate investments in certain identified sectors.
Mahmood Ali welcomed the suggestion and offered to start working level consultations to this effect.
The two Ministers held discussions on further facilitating long term visas for Bangladesh nationals, especially students, to visit Belgium and the two have sides agreed to try out certain practical steps towards devising a more sustainable arrangement.
The Bangladesh Foreign Minister also briefed his Belgian counterpart about the post-election political situation in Bangladesh and the rationale and objectives of the ongoing trials of crimes against humanity.
He invited the Belgian Foreign Minister and other high level dignitaries to visit Bangladesh at mutually convenient dates.
The Bangladesh Foreign Minister also addressed a gathering of diplomats, academics, human rights and workers’ rights activists and members of Bangladesh Diaspora at the European Institute of Asian Studies based in Brussels.
Under the designated theme ‘Bangladesh’s Journey towards Peace, Justice and Development’, the Foreign Minister briefed his audience at length about the reforms undertaken in the RMG sector, the political situation before and after the national elections of 05 January, and the background and evolution of the ongoing ICT-BD trials.
The Bangladesh Foreign Minister is currently on a three-day visit to Brussels to attend the international Conference on Prevention of Genocides organized by the Belgian Government.
Mahmood Ali is scheduled to return home on Wednesday.

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