Bangladesh and the Maldives today agreed to sign the Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) aimed at increasing the trade and commerce between the two countries.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and President of the Maldives Ibrahim Mohamed Solih came up with a consensus regarding signing of the PTA during their bilateral talks at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) in the capital.

PM’s Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim briefed the reporters after the talks.

The Bangladesh Prime Minister proposed signing the PTA for mutual benefits if both the countries agree and the Maldives President also showed his keenness to this end.

“Bangladesh is a potential trade partner of the Maldives and the PTA will be signed in the near the future,” Karim said, quoting the Maldives president.

On Rohingya issue, the Maldives president said that his country wants to work jointly with Bangladesh at the ICJ (International Courts Justice) to protect the rights of Rohingyas.

The two leaders reviewed the entire gamut of bilateral relations and agreed to expand mutual cooperation in multiple prospective areas, including trade, commerce, investment, youth development, healthcare, education and pharmaceuticals.

President Solih appreciated Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visionary leadership in transforming Bangladesh into a developed country by 2041.

The two leaders stressed the need for harnessing bilateral trade potentials to its fullest extent.

Sheikh Hasina called upon the Maldives to import varieties of CSLM to address bilateral trade issues in details.

Both sides agreed to expedite the finalisation of the proposed agreement on customs cooperation and the signing of the agreement on avoidance of double taxation.

Both the leaders decided to establish a direct commercial shipping link between Male and the three seaports of Bangladesh through signing a shipping agreement.

Bangladesh reiterated its policy of extending continued support towards development of human resources in the Maldives in different fields.

Bangladesh also offered training courses to the Maldivian peacekeepers at the Bangladesh Institute of Peace Support Operation Training (BIPSOT).

The Maldivian President Solih said all Bangladeshi expatriates in the Maldives will be vaccinated free of cost, which the Prime Minister appreciated.

She proposed to consider recruiting Bangladeshi doctors and nurses in the Maldives to mitigate its deficit of medical professionals.

Solih appreciated significant contributions being made by Bangladeshi expatriate workers in the two economies.

On climate change issue, the two leaders agreed to closely work together in various multilateral platforms including the UN and climate vulnerable forums.

The Maldives president said Bangladesh is a potential trade partner of the Maldives.

The Maldives will assist Bangladesh in collecting Tuna fish from deep sea.

He said that there would be tourism and air link cooperation between potential investors of both countries.

Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen, Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi, LGRD and Cooperatives Minister Md Tajul Islam, Fisheries and Livestock Minister SM Rezaul Karim, State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam, PM’s Principal Secretary Dr Ahmad Kaikaus and Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen were present at the meeting.

From the Maldives side, Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdulla Shahid, Minister of Economic Development Fayyaz Ismail, Secretary of Foreign Relations Sabra Ibrahim Noordeen, and Foreign Secretary Abdul Ghafoor Mohamed were present.

Later, the visiting Maldives president signed the visitor’s book at the PMO.

After the bilateral talks, four MoUs were signed in various areas, including fisheries and culture.

Before the talks, the two leaders also held a t^te-…-t^te for some time.

Earlier, on the arrival of the Maldivian President at the Prime Minister’s Office, he was received by the Prime Minister at the Tiger Gate.

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