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Bangladesh keen to sign FTA with Malaysia, says finance minister

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Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal on Wednesday said that Bangladesh is keen to sign a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Malaysia.

Kamal came up with the statement during a bilateral meeting with a Malaysian delegation headed by Malaysian Deputy Finance Minister Dato Indear Moha Shar Abdullah, in Manila in the Philippines as part of the Annual Meeting of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), reports BSS.

During the meeting, the finance minister also urged the Malaysian side to expedite the process of signing the FTA, said a finance ministry press release.

Welcoming the decision of the Malaysian government for allowing Bangladeshi workers in all sectors of their country, Kamal requested the Malaysian Deputy Finance Minister to recruit more manpower from Bangladesh.

Referring to the signing of the MoU between the two countries on the import of LNG from Malaysia, Kamal sought the cooperation of the Malaysian government to import LNG as per the requirement of Bangladesh.

Noting that Malaysia is an important country for attracting more FDI for Bangladesh, he said that since September 2022, the total FDI from Malaysia in Bangladesh's telecom sector reached $788 million.

Since Bangladesh is an attractive destination for FDI considering financial and other facilities, the finance minister called upon Malaysia to make more investments in Bangladesh.

Kamal also thanked the Malaysian government for providing some 5,59,200 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines.

In response, the Malaysian Deputy Finance Minister assured Kamal of considering the issues like the signing of FTA, LNG export to Bangladesh and recruiting more manpower after consultation with the concerned ministries and departments in Malaysia.

Lauding highly the socio-economic progress of Bangladesh, Abdullah termed Bangladesh as a 'rising star'.

He also hoped that the brotherly relationship between the two countries would be further strengthened in the coming days.

According to official data, Bangladesh exported goods worth $306 million to Malaysia in the fiscal year (2020-2021) against imports of $1.57 billion.

Both countries are now celebrating 50 years of diplomatic relations.

Meanwhile, the Finance Minister also held a bilateral meeting with the Finance Minister of Bhutan.

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