PM for enhancing bilateral trade with Iran

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh and Iran should take more initiative of engagements to enhance bilateral trade and business as Iranian President Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi phoned her this afternoon.

Mentioning that the bilateral trade volume between the two countries was far below the actual potential, Sheikh Hasina, during the conversation, stressed the need for forming a Joint Business Commission (JBC) between the chamber bodies of the two countries, according to a press release of the Prime Minister’s Press Wing.

She underlined the need for regular Joint Economic Commission (JEC) meetings.

Informing that Bangladesh was working towards convening the 6th meeting in Tehran sometime this year, she expressed hope that the platform of the JEC would facilitate both sides to explore ways of overcoming the trade barriers, existing international sanctions, and restrictions in bank transactions.

She also said that bilateral relations between Bangladesh and Iran were premised on strong commonalities which emanated from shared history, faith and culture.

Highlighting Bangladesh’s growing manufacturing strength, she said that her country could be a source of quality imports at a quantitative price.

She added that Bangladesh has been exporting world-class garment/textile products, porcelain, pharmaceuticals, frozen fish and seafood, leather goods, jute/kenaf yarn, IT, light engineering, small and medium size ships, agro products, and more to Western markets, including Europe, the USA, and other destinations.

She also expressed Bangladesh’s willingness and ability to export those products to Iran as well.

During the teleconference, the Prime Minister recalled that Bangladesh and Iran, being the members of OIC and D-8, have often been supportive of each other on many occasions.

She reiterated Bangladesh’s readiness to extend support to Iran in multilateral platforms, especially in the UN. In this context, she cited Bangladesh’s vote against the resolution placed by Canada at the Human Rights Council.

Bangladesh also abstained from voting in the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) resolution to remove Iran from the Commission on the Status of Women. In connection with the equal treatment of men and women in Islam, Sheikh Hasina urged the Iranian President to make efforts to ensure that Iranian women can live with dignity and honour with equal opportunity for education and work with their male counterparts.

The Premier condemned Israel’s recent acts of aggression, desecration of the al-Aqsa Mosque, and the raid on Palestinian worshippers. She told the Iranian President that her government has consistently condemned such illegal acts by Israeli forces.

She briefed President Raisi about the humanitarian treatment extended to the Rohingya refugees for more than five years despite the declining financial support from the international community. She urged Iran to support Bangladesh’s cause on international platforms, including the OIC, as Rohingya repatriation should be a priority for the Muslim community.

The Prime Minister thanked President Raisi for the telephone call. She appreciated that the new administration of Iran is reaching out to Bangladesh to expand and consolidate bilateral ties.

Sheikh Hasina congratulated Iran on the restoration of diplomatic ties with Saudi Arabia.

She appreciated that this was a classic example of a successful diplomatic maneuver that would lead to greater regional stability in the Gulf and beyond.

She stated that she had sent the State Minister for Foreign Affairs to attend the President’s swearing-in ceremony in Tehran.

The Premier also recalled her visits to Iran in 1997 to attend the 8th OIC Summit and August 2012 to attend the 16th NAM Summit in Tehran.

She wished the President and the brotherly people of Iran a blessed and peaceful Ramadan Kareem and a belated Happy Nawroz. She also thanked him for his warm greetings on Bangladesh’s Independence Day.

The telephone conversation lasted for 22 minutes. In the end, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina invited the Iranian President to visit Bangladesh at his convenience. She wished him and the brotherly people of Iran a happy Eid-ul-Fitr in advance.

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