Bangladesh-Sweden to work together to broaden bilateral relations

 

Dhaka and Stockholm has agreed to work together for transition of the relation to a broader level in the areas of economic cooperation and encourage more bilateral Foreign Direct Investments (FDI).

Leaders of the two countries also expressed their wishes to increase bilateral trade and investment as economic cooperation and trade and investment constitute a key element for strengthening bilateral relations.

It was told in a Joint Statement issued on the outcome of the bilateral meeting between the prime ministers of the two countries on Thursday.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina arrived in Sweden yesterday on a three-day bilateral visit at the invitation of Prime Minister of Sweden Stefan Lofven.

It is the first official visit by any Head of Government from either country in the 45 years of diplomatic relations between Bangladesh and Sweden.

The two prime ministers marked the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations following Sweden's early recognition of the independent People's Republic of Bangladesh on February 4, 1972 and Sweden's long-standing support to Bangladesh's development in key sectors such as rural employment, rural infrastructure, human rights, primary education, health and gender equality.

King Karl XVI Gustaf of Sweden received Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and she met with several ministers of the Swedish government.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina also visited the Swedish Parliament and held meeting with Acting Speaker of Swedish Parliament Mr. Tobias Billstrom.

She also attended a business dialogue with the Bangladeshi and Swedish business leaders.

The joint statement said the two prime ministers agreed to work together to take the relationship to a higher level and in that regard noted with satisfaction the signing of MoU for Foreign Office Consultations (FOC) between the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh and Sweden during the visit of Foreign Minister of Bangladesh to Sweden in September 2016.

Both the prime ministers committed to cooperate within the framework of Global Deal in order to ensure decent work for workers and to achieve increased productivity and growth.

They welcomed Bangladesh's first pilot project under the Global Deal, a social dialogue initiative in the ready-made garment sector, administered by ILO and funded by Sweden and Denmark.

The Swedish Prime Minister welcomed Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's announcement to support the "Ready-Made Garment Tripartite Consultative Council", as a new commitment in the framework of Global Deal, which also will be supported by the Social Dialogue project.

They agreed that the Council when fully functional can become an effective tool for social dialogue.

The two prime ministers identified the great potentials in the past and current bilateral development cooperation for building broader bilateral relations for the future, such as in commerce, science, technology, innovation, research, energy, climate change, education, people-to-people contacts and tourism, the statement said.

While agreed to encourage more bilateral Foreign Direct Investments the two prime ministers observed that respective investment promotion agencies - Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) and Business Sweden - can play an important role in that regard.

Recognizing the growth prospect in free trade, the two prime ministers agreed that simplified rules for access of products, technology and services are important.

Bangladesh welcomed the on-going Swedish programs for training and scholarships available to Bangladeshi nationals. The governments of Sweden and Bangladesh encouraged the academic and research communities of both countries to explore further cooperation and to extend it to new areas.

The two prime ministers affirmed their strong commitment to the implementation of the "2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development" including Sustainable Development Goals - SDGs.
The two prime ministers also agreed to give particular priority to the following areas of bilateral cooperation in the future, underpinned by the "2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The areas are- reduction of poverty and inequality, energy, climate change, urban planning, transport, smart manufacturing, health and ICT, skills development, statistical capacity development and research cooperation, inter alia by promoting enhanced trade and investment.

The joint statement said, Sweden and Bangladesh are strong supporters of multilateral cooperation, international law, including human rights law and a strong United Nations system including the UN Security Council.

The two governments intend to deepen collaboration in United Nations affairs, i.e., in the areas of peace-keeping, peace-building, women's active participation in peace processes, peace and security and UN reform.

They recognized the important role of the United Nations in peacekeeping operations and peace-building activities and its contribution to international peace and security.

Both the prime ministers condemned in strongest terms the recent terrorist acts in both the countries and expressed sympathy for the victims.

Both the governments are committed to fight terrorism and prevent radicalization, in compliance with their international obligations under relevant international law, including international human rights law and international humanitarian law, and preserving our open and democratic societies.

They welcomed the close partnership that has emerged between Sweden and Bangladesh in the areas of migration and development. Both the governments reiterated their strong commitments towards a positive and constructive outcome of the ongoing discussions on the Global Compact on Migration aiming at facilitating safe, orderly and regular migration.

They also expressed their hope that the ongoing negotiations of "Standard Operating Procedures on the Return of Irregular Migrants" between Bangladesh and the European Union be concluded soon.

The statement said Bangladesh, being one of the most climate vulnerable countries with a current population of 160 million, remains committed to the Paris Climate Agreement.

Sweden and Bangladesh reiterated their commitments to continue efforts with all friends and partners around the globe to mobilise domestic and international resources to address the grave threats posed by climate change.

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