Sunday, June 23, 2024
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Bangla PM visits Myanmar to boost trade

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DHAKA: Bangladesh and Myanmar will sign agreements on economic cooperation and investment protection during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit to the country on Monday, officials said, as part of efforts to double trade to more than 400 million dollars in two years.

Hasina’s visit is the first by a Bangladeshi prime minister in eight years at the invitation of Myanmar President Thein Sein who is leading a push to re-engage the international community after decades of isolation.

“She will explore possibilities including buying energy, leasing farming land and joint hydro-electric projects,” Bangladesh Commerce Minister Faruk Khan said.

The agreements that two countries plan to sign will help increase trade, officials said. Dhaka is looking to increase exports of pharmaceuticals, frozen food, cement, ready-made garments, plastic products and toiletries to Myanmar.

“There is strong possibility to raise business with Myanmar significantly over the next few years as the country seems ready to open its economy for outsiders,” Mustafizur Rahman, executive director of the Centre for Policy Dialogue, said.

The two countries generally enjoy friendly ties, but have squabbled in the past over what Bangladesh says has been an influx of refugees, mostly minority Muslims from Myanmar fleeing persecution.

A dispute over certain gas blocks in the Bay of Bengal that both claim has also cropped up in recent months. (Reuters)

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