The UK has showed its interest in expanding two-way trade and investment with Bangladesh considering the country’s economic growth, reports BSS. “We are interested in two-way trade and investment… just not one direction,” Permanent Under Secretary of the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office Sir Simon McDonald said at a joint press briefing with his Bangladesh counterpart Foreign Secretary Md Shahidul Haque on Wednesday.
The briefing followed the third Strategic Dialogue between Bangladesh and the UK that reviewed the entire gamut of bilateral relations between the two countries at the state guest house Padma. Sir Simon said the UK is an important trading partner of Bangladesh, while Bangladesh has more success in exports to the UK. “We were able to look at Bangladesh’s recent successes especially very strong growth in the economy in recent years… over 8 percent last year,” he said.
Simon said he is leading a 21-member delegation from seven ministries and agencies of the UK that marked the importance British government attached to the relationship between London and Dhaka. Foreign secretary Haque said they had a very productive and fruitful discussion and exchange of notes over bilateral, regional and multilateral issues. “We covered all aspects,” he added.
Later, Bangladesh High Commissioner to the UK Saida Muna Tasneem informed that Bangladesh received around two billion US dollars of British investment in last five years while 340 million US dollars came last year. “We are looking for British investment in our renewable energy sector,” she said. The United Kingdom is the third largest export destination of Bangladesh and the country historically maintains positive trade balance with the UK. During 2017-2018, goods worth US$ 3,989.12 million were exported to the UK which is 9.74% of total export.
The UK delegation included representatives from Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Department of International Development, Department of Trade, UK Home Office, UK Border Agency, Department of Transport and Ministry of Defence and DFID and British Council.
After the talks, Sir Simon McDonald gave a lecture on UK-Bangladesh relations in the era of UK’s exit from the EU at Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies.