Bangladesh, Vietnam pledge to deepen trade ties

Dhaka (The Daily Star/ANN) - The second joint commission meeting between Vietnam and Bangladesh ended yesterday with a firm commitment to strengthening trade ties.

"We have always seen Bangladesh as a traditional partner and friend in South Asia. This meeting would remain a landmark for the two countries," Vu Huy Hoang, Vietnam's trade and investment minister, said at a joint press briefing.

During the two-day meeting in Dhaka, the two countries agreed to further strengthen cooperation in agriculture and aquamarine fisheries, trade, health, tourism, food security, investment, education, and science and technology. Both parties expressed hopes that the mutual support would enhance in the years to come, while underscoring the need for participation at each other's trade fairs.\

Finance Minister AMA Muhith, who led the home side in the discussions, said the agreed minutes are due to be signed soon. "Bilateral trade should be given priority to attain higher growth and sustainable development," Muhith said.

At present, trade between the two countries stands at US$500 million a year, with the balance heavily tilted in favour of Vietnam, whose exports to Bangladesh average $450 million.

Both parties discussed various issues of mutual interest in a congenial atmosphere and also agreed to cooperate with each other in ASEAN and other regional and international forums.

Vietnam is one of Southeast Asia's fastest-growing economies and has designs to become a developed nation by 2020.

Relations between the two countries got fresh impetus after Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's visit to Vietnam last year.

The third meeting of the commission is scheduled to take place in Hanoi next year.

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