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Bond with Jakarta thrives

MoUs inked in three major sectors

Published : 05 Sep 2023 10:49 PM | Updated : 06 Sep 2023 12:30 PM

Bangladesh and Indonesia have agreed to strengthen bilateral cooperation in energy, health, agricultural, trade, commerce and other sectors.

Both the countries on Monday signed three separate Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) on energy, agricultural and health cooperation.

Besides, Bangladesh urged Indonesia to ease the market access for Bangladeshi readymade garment (RMG) products to Indonesia. 

During a meeting Foreign Minister of Bangladesh Dr AK Abdul Momen signed the memoranda on behalf of Bangladesh. 

On the other hand, his counterpart Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi signed the MoU on the energy and agricultural cooperation while Indonesian Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin signed the MoU on health cooperation. 

While the energy-sector MoU aims at promoting long-term sale and delivery of the conventional form of energy to and developing new and renewable energy sources and power plants in Bangladesh, the Agriculture one is intended to foster collaboration in producing, marketing, promoting technology transfer and exchange of best practices in the field of agriculture. 

Dr Momen is now visiting Jakarta to accompany Bangladesh President Mohammed Shahabuddin as the latter, at the invitation of President Joko Widodo of Indonesia, is participating in the 43rd ASEAN Summit and the 18th East Asia Summit – two grand events attended by top leaders from the Southeast Asia region and beyond.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Dr A K Abdul Momen on Monday urged his Indonesian counterpart to ease the market access of Bangladeshi RMG products to Indonesia. 

Expressing his satisfaction on the recent increase in bilateral trade volume between the two countries surpassing three-billion-dollar mark, Dr Momen noted the stark imbalance between Bangladesh’s import and export volumes. 

“The gap can only be reduced by promoting export of Bangladeshi products to the Indonesian markets, especially the ones that Bangladesh has competitive advantage in”, the Bangladesh Foreign Minister made the remarks while holding a meeting with Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi in Jakarta on Monday.

Recognising Indonesia as an important trade partner of Bangladesh in the ASEAN region, he said that there were great potentials to further enhance bilateral trade and investment, given the complementary strengths and resources. 

He expressed his hope that the bilateral Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) between the two countries would be finalised soon.

The two foreign ministers discussed various aspects of bilateral relationship between the two countries including cooperation in trade and investment and collaboration in the international forums, Bangladesh’s bid to become a sectoral dialogue partner of ASEAN and the issue of the repatriation of the forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals (the Rohingyas) temporality sheltered in Bangladesh. 

Foreign Minister of Indonesia Retno Marsudi underscored the meteoric socio-economic development under the able leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. 

Noting that Bangladesh and Indonesia enjoy cultural similarity and a historical bond the people-to-people level, she emphasised on exploring new avenues of collaboration and partnership to build a stronger, more vibrant relationship between our two great nations. 

The ministers stressed the potential of further enhancing collaboration to ensure energy and food security.

Besides, Foreign Minister Dr. Momen and Indonesian Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin held a meeting in Jakarta and signed another MoU on Health Cooperation.

The MOU is aimed at enhancing cooperation between the two countries in primary and secondary care, health resilience and health financing, among others, through training, exchange programs, joint research and transfer of technology etc.  

The ministers signed the MOU during a meeting on the sidelines of the 43rd ASEAN and 18th East Asia Summit currently taking place in Jakarta, Indonesia.

“The conclusion of the health-cooperation MOU is yet another example of how both the countries can reap maximum benefits out of our excellent bilateral relations”, said Dr. Momen. 

The ministers expressed their hope that, with the proper implementation of this arrangement, the people-to-people communication between the two friendly nations would enhance further.

During the meeting, the ministers discussed various bilateral issues such as health, food security and other relevant areas. Health Minister Sadikin congratulated Bangladesh for her tremendous success in managing the Covid-19 crisis and for continuing the growth momentum despite. 

Foreign Minister DrMomen briefed Health Minister Sadikin on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s stellar contribution in establishing model community clinics dubbed “the Sheikh Hasina Initiative” as an example of the strength and capability of Bangladesh’s health-sector and its professionals. 

Mentioning that Bangladeshi medical colleges are a great choice for many students from the neighbouring countries and beyond, Dr. Momen requested the Indonesian health minister for the mutual recognition of academic and professional certification for the benefit of both nations.

Indicating the existing imbalance in the bilateral trade volume and highlighting that Bangladesh’s pharmaceutical products are world class which are being exported to more than 150 countries, Dr. Momen requested the Indonesian side to import pharmaceutical products and raw materials from Bangladesh. 

Easing the registration process for Bangladeshi pharmaceutical products in Indonesia would be helpful, he underscored. Minister Sadikin assured him of exploring ways for Indonesian direct investment in Bangladesh’s pharmaceutical sector. 

The two ministers expressed their satisfaction over the long tradition of strong cooperation between the two countries in regional and international forums and committed to continue to work together on issues of mutual interest and concerns.

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