"Kosovo and Bangladesh have an uptrend trade. Increasing trade means increasing cooperation and revealing the potential to do business together", said Guner Ureya, Ambassador of the Republic of Kosovo to Bangladesh.
In an exclusive interview with Bangladesh Post, the Ambassador mentioned that the increase in commercial partnerships will also bring more ideas about investments to the agenda.
"Personally, I have a very positive view and big expectations regarding the investment and commercial relations between the two countries", said the envoy.
Replying to a set of queries, made by Bangladesh Post, the Journalist turned Diplomat has made a vivid picture between the bi-lateral economic, diplomatic and cultural relationship between Bangladesh and Kosovo, mentioning the potential ways how to further strengthening the ties.
The excerpts of his interview is as bellows:
Bangladesh Post: First of all, could you please brief us about the possibilities of investment and development of trade relations between Bangladesh and Kosovo?
Guner Ureya: Both Kosovo and Bangladesh are countries that need more investments. In both countries, expectations for capital transfers and new investments especially from developed countries, are very high. In this way, besides the increase in manufacturing and employment, the possibility of bringing know-how and technology transfer is also higher.
All kinds of investments in industry and services are important to contribute to the development of our countries. Bangladesh and Kosovo are young and dynamic countries and attractive to foreign investors.
Although there are approximately 6600 kilometers of air distance between Kosovo and Bangladesh geographically, the two countries have more potential to offer each other.
There are very good opportunities, especially in terms of joint ventures. If we can bring together the part of manufacturing capacity of Bangladesh on one side with Kosovo as a country next-door to big consumer markets on another side, we can create an incredible synergy. If we produce together and target third-country markets, can get very good results.
Even modest, Kosovo and Bangladesh have an uptrend trade. Increasing trade means increasing cooperation and revealing the potential to do business together. The increase in commercial partnerships will also bring more ideas about investments to the agenda. Personally, I have a very positive view and big expectations regarding the investment and commercial relations between the two countries.
Bangladesh Post: What about the signing of the Avoidance of Double Taxation Treaty.
Guner Ureya: In the field of the economy, first we started with the Agreement on Economic Cooperation. Our aim is to conclude this agreement very soon. The parties are also discussing the initiation of several other agreements in the near future. One of these is the Agreement on Avoidance of Double Taxation, which is very important.
One of the primary purposes of tax agreements is to reduce tax barriers to cross-border trade and investment. Such an agreement will provide convenience to those who do business and will encourage both parties to cooperate more.
Bangladesh Post: Now please tell us something about the ease of visa processing for diplomatic and official passport holders, cultural exchange, and people-to-people connectivity between Bangladesh and Kosovo.
Guner Ureya: The Agreement for Visa-free Visit for Holders of Diplomatic and Official Passports and the Agreement on Cultural Cooperation are in progress and very close to finalization. After finishing formal procedures on both sides, these agreements will be concluded. The first agreement will facilitate official visits.
The second agreement will provide additional opportunities to increase cultural cooperation and to organize mutual cultural promotions. P2P and exchange programs are also very important.
We are trying to increase cooperation by building bridges between youth organizations and educational institutions. Media organizations of the two countries also contribute to our mutual promotion. I would also like to thank Bangladesh Post for serving this purpose.
Bangladesh Post: We know that the history of the struggle for independence of your country is almost similar to Bangladesh. Do you find any similarity in terms of social or cultural practices of your country here in Bangladesh?
Guner Ureya: Yes, there are very similar points between our struggles for independence. The biggest similarity is the wounds and traumas caused by the war in both countries. The important thing is that both Kosovo and Bangladesh pursue peaceful policies for the future of their countries. We have many similarities socially and culturally.
Both Kosovo and Bangladesh are with a Muslim majority but it is valuable that both countries give importance to the harmony and integration of religious and ethnic communities into society.
In both countries, the institution of the family is given great importance. In addition, both Kosovo and Bangladesh have very young populations. Kosovo has the youngest population in Europe with an average age of 30.5 years.
Bangladesh Post: Well, if Kosovo wishes, it can import different Bangladeshi products, including processed food, leather products, agricultural products and raw materials, what are your views in this regard?
Guner Ureya: Of course, different products can be exported from Bangladesh to Kosovo. I would especially like Kosovo to be more familiar with jute. Different events like fairs and business forums, but also B2B meetings will also lead to an increase in demand for Bangladeshi products.
Likewise, I would like Bangladeshis to import Kosovo's food products such as chocolate, beverages and biscuits, as well as furniture and other products.
Bangladesh Post: Please tell us whether your Embassy has worked so far in identifying specific areas of bilateral cooperation in the industrial sector or whether made any specific proposals in this regard?
Guner Ureya: We see greater cooperation potential in sectors such as textiles, pharmaceuticals, food processing and ICT, and we try to encourage cooperation in these areas. Of course, both parties can trade in raw materials like minerals and jute, as well.
In addition, cooperation in a number of fields from educational institutions to tour operators will contribute to the trade and economy of the two countries. Our relations are very new and we are trying to bring all areas closer together.
Bangladesh Post: Excellency, you earlier called for a meeting of the ‘Joint Economic Commission’ to increase trade, commerce and import-export between Bangladesh and Kosovo, any progress?
Guner Ureya: We organized, or were part of different activities, but unfortunately, there was no Joint Economic Commission session between the two countries. After completing the Economic Cooperation Agreement, we will hopefully hold the first session. The draft agreement recommends organizing of Joint Economic Commission sessions. Apart from this, we are planning to hold a large-scale business forum, together with a high-level visit.
Bangladesh Post: Now could you please express your feelings, reactions and experiences, you gained during your stay here in Bangladesh? How would you judge the economic growth and overall development of Bangladesh?
Guner Ureya: I was warmly welcomed here as the very first Kosovar Ambassador. I am the officially Ambassador of Kosovo, but I`m aware that we have also many natural ambassadors in Dhaka. Many Bangladeshis who served as peacekeepers in Kosovo are our natural ambassadors here.
We are always grateful to them. My family and I are happy to be in Bangladesh. We love your people. Bangladeshi people are hospitable and generous. As for the economy, I can say that a great success story is being written in your country. Bangladesh's tremendous economic growth has made it an emerging hub for regional connectivity, attracting more trade and investment opportunities. According to the World Bank, Bangladesh has been among the fastest-growing economies globally over the past decade. Every corner of the country is like a construction site. Padma Bridge is a token of your success. Your work on infrastructure continues. With these efforts, you will have prepared a much more prosperous environment for new generations. Be optimistic. Bangladesh is a beautiful country.