Dhaka, April 29: Bangladesh and Indonesia held their first ever Foreign Office Consultations (FOC) today. Senior Secretary of Foreign Ministry of Bangladesh Masud Bin Momen and Director General for Asia Pacific and Africa of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Indonesia Abdul Kadir Jailani led respective delegations at the consultations.
The two sides comprehensively reviewed the present status of bilateral relation between the two countries. They agreed to complete the signing of pending MoUs and Agreements on a fast-track basis, pursue sector specific agenda and do the needful to expand the volume of bilateral trade and investment. Both sides stressed on early signing of Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) within the ambit of which potential export items from both countries would be allowed to enter duty free. Bangladesh requested Indonesia to offer its readymade garments duty free benefits and not to impose safeguard measures on its textile products as has been notified by the Indonesian side.
With regard to the huge trade imbalance which is in favour of Indonesia, the two countries agreed to exchange business delegations and organize frequent single country and single product trade fairs. Bangladesh sought market access in Indonesia’s Halal trade and investment from Indonesia in the agro processing. Senior Secretary Momen also suggested that the two countries can expand technical cooperation in extraction of marine resources, deep sea fishing and protection of coastal zones.
Both sides agreed to promote cooperation on matters such as combating corruption, counter-terrorism, science and technology, export promotion, defense cooperation, climate change adaptation and mitigation, ethical migration, parliamentary exchange and pursuing sustainable development goals. It was noted with satisfaction that ordinary passport holders can now visit both countries “free” which stands to contribute immensely to the broadening of the tourism sector.
The two countries agreed to jointly celebrate the golden jubilee of the diplomatic relations in a befitting manner and jointly organize events, such as, cultural programmes, seminars, high-level visits, trade fairs, introduction of direct flights in the Dhaka-Bali route and translation of biographies of the Father of the Nation of the two countries into Bahasa and Bengali languages.
Bangladesh sought Indonesia’s continued support on Rohingya repatriation and appreciated the last ASEAN Leaders’ Meeting which also called for early repatriation of Rohingyas to Myanmar. Indonesia assured to stand beside Bangladesh on Rohingya issue.
On the same day, the two Foreign Ministries also signed an MoU on Cooperation on Diplomatic Capacity Building. Handout
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