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Bangladesh, Singapore eye early conclusion of FTA

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Applauding the initiative for a free trade agreement (FTA) between Bangladesh and Singapore, Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on Thursday said FTA would be mutually beneficial by further enhancing the bilateral trade and investment.

"Singapore is an important bilateral trade and investment partner of Bangladesh," he said during a telephone conversation with his Singapore counterpart Dr Vivian Balakrishnan.

The two Foreign Ministers agreed to accelerate the process for concluding the FTA early, reports UNB.

Dr Momen encouraged more Singaporean investors to invest in power, telecommunication, renewable energy, and power transmission sectors in Bangladesh taking advantage of a very friendly investment regime in the country.

While thanking the Government of Singapore for providing humanitarian assistance to the forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals sheltered in Bangladesh, Dr. Momen sought Singapore’s and ASEAN’s proactive role in bringing a sustainable and permanent solution to the Rohingya crisis by ensuring their urgent return to their homeland in Myanmar.

Dr Vivian assured that Singapore would remain engaged on the issue and of Singapore’s continued support for a durable solution to the crisis.

During the conversation, Dr Momen expressed satisfaction over the excellent bilateral relations existing between the two friendly countries, mentioning that Bangladesh considers Singapore as a role model of Economic Development.

The two Foreign Ministers agreed on the necessity of exploring synergies in new areas of cooperation for expanded bilateral engagement.

Dr Momen noted with satisfaction the Singapore government’s continuous support to the Bangladeshi expatriate workers during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

He suggested that Singapore may consider employing more skilled workers from Bangladesh especially in their health and other service sectors.

Praising Dr Balakrishnan’s previous role as Minister-in-charge of the Smart Nation Initiative, Dr Momen shared the rapid digital transformation of the economy and society in Bangladesh under the vision of Hon’ble Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for a ‘Digital Bangladesh’.

Dr Momen sought Singaporean cooperation in the area of ICT and digitization, to which Dr. Balakrishnan responded very positively and assured of full support and assistance.

Referring to the 50 years of diplomatic ties between the two countries in 2022, both the Ministers agreed to celebrate the special occasion in a befitting manner in both countries.

Dr Momen invited his Singaporean counterpart to visit Bangladesh. Dr Balakrishnan also extended an invitation to Dr Momen for an official visit to Singapore to kick-start the celebration of the 50 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

The two Foreign Ministers also exchanged greetings of the New Year and discussed the pandemic situation in their respective countries.

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