POST TIME: 10 September, 2018 00:00 00 AM
First FOC
Bangladesh, Brunei finalise 3 bilateral documents

Bangladesh, Brunei finalise 
3 bilateral documents

Bangladesh and Brunei yesterday agreed to sign three finalised bilateral documents to strengthen ties between the two countries, reports UNB. All the finalised instruments are likely to be signed during a VVIP-level visit next year, said an official. The issues were discussed broadly at the first ever Foreign Office Consultations (FOC) between the Foreign Secretaries of Bangladesh and Brunei held at the State guesthouse Meghna in the city.

Foreign Secretary Md Shahidul Haque led the Bangladesh delegation while Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade Hajah Siti Norishan Haji Abdul Ghafor led the Brunei side.

The agreed bilateral documents are memorandum of understanding (MoU) on Cultural and Arts Cooperation; MoU on Cooperation in the Field of Youth and Sports; and MoU on Scientific and Technical Cooperation in Agriculture.

Brunei has also agreed for an "exchange of notes" for the exemption of visa requirements for holders of diplomatic and official passports as well as expediting the proposed draft MoU on Cooperation in the Field of Fisheries and Air Services Agreement by Bangladesh.

In order to increase bilateral trade, both countries emphasized on the need to explore new areas and to consider the possibility of preferential arrangement and regular consultative mechanism.

Brunei has expressed keen interest to invest in Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (BEZA) to for intermediary products which will be taken to Brunei for further value addition for exporting to Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and other world markets.

They have shown interest to invest in Bangladeshi hotel business.

Bilateral trade received a major focus in the Consultation as the two-way trade between Bangladesh and Brunei has shown an upward trend in the recent years.

The both sides, however, agreed that trade volume was far less than existing potentials, said the Foreign Ministry here.

Brunei has agreed to positively consider working with Bangladesh in various sectors, such as in halal food, oil, gas, power generation, textiles, leather and agro-based industries.

Given the growing demand of energy in Bangladesh, both countries agreed to work on MoU on G2G cooperation involving the private sectors in the field of energy and power to explore the possibility of technical cooperation in the exploration of oil and natural gas; cooperation in human resource development and capacity building of energy sector professionals.

At present an estimated 16,000 Bangladeshi expatriate workers working in Brunei and the number is expected to go up further, said the Foreign Ministry here.

Both sides expressed keen interest to work together to address expatriate workers' related issues in an integrated manner to make labour migration ethical and sustainable.

Both sides recognized the need for deeper cooperation among the financial institutions to ensure smooth services for enhanced bilateral trade and investment.