Bangladesh, Sri Lanka to boost trade

April 20th, 2011 - 6:10 pm ICT by IANS  

Sheikh Hasina Dhaka, April 20 (IANS) Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have sought to have “strong political relations” as well as a boost in trade at the end of the visit here by Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

They will also go for simplification and harmonisation of mutually recognised standards to boost bilateral trade that now stands at only $45 million a year, said a joint statement issued at the end of Rajapaksa’s visit.

Rajapaksa, who met Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, said his country wanted “strong political relations” with Bangladesh.

The two leaders had a 30-minute meeting during which they observed that both the countries can work together at regional and international forums for mutual benefit.

Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dipu Moni and her Sri Lankan counterpart G.L. Peiris said the Joint Economic Commission meeting to be held here shortly will take up the issues.

Peiris said Sri Lanka is ready to initiate talks with Bangladesh regarding Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the two countries.

Both the sides also agreed to diversify the goods for trade and look for innovative ways to give a fresh impetus to trade relations, he added.

Five deals relating to cooperation in the fields of trade, agriculture, fisheries, vocational education and cultural exchange were signed during the visit.

Rajapaksa left for Colombo Wednesday at the end of the three-day visit.

Peiris said they discussed political cooperation in exchanging information about terrorist activities and terrorist financing.

Peiris said that after developing their Hambantota deep seaport, they have requested Bangladesh to resume the feeder vessel service for Chittagong and Mongla ports via Colombo.

Dipu Moni said Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are engaged in reviewing Shipping Services Agreement, and the proposed feeder service could be addressed through it.

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