Bangladesh and Bhutan will now get connected through Chittagong and Mongla ports that will open up further opportunities of bilateral trade between the two countries and beyond. Prime minister Sheikh Hasina and her Bhutanese counterpart Tshering Tobgay expressed such hope in a 26-point joint statement issued on Thursday.
The two prime ministers welcomed the signing of MoU on use of inland waterways for transportation of bilateral trade and transit cargoes between Bhutan and Bangladesh which will provide connectivity with Chittagong and Mongla ports.
At the invitation of her Bhutanese counterpart Tshering Tobgay, prime minister Sheikh Hasina paid a state visit to Bhutan from April 18-20. The two prime ministers emphasised the advantages of sub-regional cooperation in the areas of power, water resources, and connectivity for mutual benefits.
Recognising the importance of enhancing regional connectivity, both sides agreed to work bilaterally and sub-regionally towards that end. They also welcomed the proposed trilateral memorandum of understanding between Bangladesh, Bhutan and India for cooperation in the field of hydroelectric power on the principles of agreed regional framework. They hoped that this MoU could be signed on an occasion when leaders of all three countries will meet next.
The two leaders recognised the importance of BBIN Motor Vehicle Agreement for regional connectivity and expressed their desire towards an early operationalisation of the agreement. The Bhutanese prime minister thanked Hasina for taking a number of measures, including opening of land customs stations namely Tamabil-Dawki and Nakuagaon-Dalu, Gobrakura and Koroitoli-Gasuaparaand resolving duty exemption issues on lime stone powder, gypsum and calcium carbonate export to Bangladesh which will further enhance bilateral trade with Bangladesh.
Bangladesh side also offered to export more products such as ready-made garments, ceramics, pharmaceuticals, jute and allied products, leather goods, toiletries, agricultural produce to Bhutan.
Bhutan side agreed to facilitate entry of these products into its market. They also agreed to further promote trade and investments between the two countries.
The two sides also exchanged views on cooperation in other regional and international forum including BIMSTEC, SAARC and the UN and noted the commonality of their views and positions on all major issues and agreed to continue to work together for greater peace, prosperity and development in the region and beyond.
Bhutan and Bangladesh signed eight instruments during the visit. These are agreement for avoidance of double taxation and prevention of fiscal evasion with respect of taxes on income; agreement on cultural cooperation, agreement on allotment of land under Hejo Samtenling local area plan for construction of Bangladesh embassy premises in Bhutan; deed for ‘use right’ of land under Hejo Samtenling local area plan for construction of Bangladesh embassy premises in Bhutan; MoU between Bhutan Standards Bureau and Bangladesh Standards & Testing Institution, MoU on use of inland waterways for transportation of bilateral trade and transit cargoes, MoU between Royal University of Bhutan and Bangladesh Academy for Rural Development, Comilla, Bangladesh and MoU between Bhutan Agriculture and Food Regulatory Authority and the Department of Agricultural Extension, ministry of agriculture, Bangladesh.