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Business Insider Bangladesh

Shahriar urges BIMSTEC members to complete FTA

UNB || BusinessInsider

Published: 00:49, 7 June 2023  
Shahriar urges BIMSTEC members to complete FTA

Photo: Collected

State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam on Tuesday said Bangladesh and a few other BIMSTEC members will quickly lose the advantages they had after graduating from LDC status, and in the BIMSTEC process, they must work together to develop alternatives.

“I would urge all the stakeholders to strengthen and put our partnership into action. The earliest conclusion of all constituent agreements and MoUs pertaining to the BIMSTEC FTA is required,” he said.

Speaking as the chief guest at the BIMSTEC Day reception, Shahriar Alam said through coordination, facilitation, and implementation of all decisions, the Secretariat has a significant role to play in any regional organization.

Secretary General of BIMSTEC Tenzin Lekphell, ambassadors and high commissioners from BIMSTEC member states were present.

Shahriar Alam said they look forward to the Secretariat to be progressive and proactive while maintaining objectivity and neutrality.

“We want the BIMSTEC process to be most effective and result oriented. We want BIMSTEC to deliver and contribute in fulfilling the dream of Bangabandhu who was an ardent proponent of regional cooperation and envisioned closer cooperation among the countries of the region for the socio-economic emancipation of the people,” he said.

The state minister said the Bay of Bengal, which includes two dynamic regions of South Asia and Southeast Asia, has enormous potential for growth through significant multi-sectoral collaboration.

He urged member states to follow a quick course of action to complete the negotiation on the BIMSTEC Free Trade Area and sign the relevant legal documents so that concrete actions could be taken.

He also called upon the member states and the Secretariat to take rapid measures to implement the already concluded legal documents.

There is a tremendous amount of untapped and unexplored potential for growth and development in the dynamic Bay of Bengal region, said the state minister.

He said the world is going through immense economic uncertainties at the moment.

“While our countries are trying to overcome the unprecedented consequences of the Covid-19, the Ukraine war and sanctions have brought new challenges for us. We need to enhance our cooperation to face these challenges,” said Shahriar Alam.

During the 5th BIMSTEC Summit, the leaders of seven member states adopted the BIMSTEC Charter, and also reconstituted sectors and sub-sectors which has provided BIMSTEC a solid footing and allowed a higher level of cooperation.