Published:  09:03 PM, 29 August 2018

Dhaka seeks early conclusion of Bimstec FTA

Dhaka seeks early conclusion of Bimstec FTA
Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Alion Wednesdayurged the Bimstec foreign ministersto conclude the Bimstec Free Trade Area (FTA) and its constituent MoUs and protocols for its early implementation.

Minister Ali also urged all to renew their pledge to build Bimstec as an efficient, high-performing and result-oriented regional organisation.

The Foreign Minister made the appeal at the 16th Bimstec Foreign Ministers' meeting held at Kathmandu, Nepal.
 He stressed cooperation in certain key sectors such as connectivity, energy, poverty alleviation, climate change, people-to-people contact, among others.

Minister Ali also emphasised prioritisation and rationalisation of the sectors and inclusion of new areas such as Blue Economy, Mountain Economy, participation of civil society and business sectors cooperation.

Nepalese Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali presided over the meeting.

The 16th Bimstec Ministerial Meeting took stock of the progress made since the 3rd Bimstec held in Myanmar in 2014 and the Bimstec leaders' commitment made at Goa Retreat in October 2016 in India.

During the meeting, Mahmood Ali reiterated Bangladesh commitment to the Bimstec cooperation and briefed the meeting about the activities and events Bangladesh undertook during the last four years, including hosting the Bimstec Secretariat in Dhaka.

He called upon the Bimstec foreign ministers to review the structure of Bimstec in particular in its areas of cooperation and strengthen the Secretariat.

The Foreign Ministers finalised the agenda for the Fourth Bimtec Summit beginning on Thursday.

It includes a text of the proposed Joint Declaration by the leaders of Bimstec under the theme, "Towards A Peaceful, Prosperous and Sustainable Bay of Bengal Region," an MoU on the Establishment of Bimstec Power Grid Inter-Connection.

It will also be signed during the Summit.

Prior to the ministerial meeting, Foreign Secretary Md Shahidul Haque led the Bangladesh delegation to the 19th senior officials meetingon Tuesday, said the Foreign Ministry here.

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