Sri Lanka has offered greater use of the Colombo Port by Bangladesh for the country’s export and import trade, according to the Bangladeshi foreign ministry.
Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa made the offer on Wednesday when meeting with Bangladeshi Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen in Colombo. Momen is currently in Sri Lanka for the 18th BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) ministerial meeting.
“Sri Lankan President offered greater use of the Colombo Port by Bangladesh for transportation of Bangladeshi trade goods,” Bangladesh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.
President Rajapaksa thanked Bangladesh for continued support in various multilateral fora and both sides agreed to closely work together in the future. The two sides also discussed the possible new areas for cooperation including food security, ICT, health care and blue economy.
Both sides also agreed to expedite and complete the negotiations and approval process of pending bilateral instruments for greater benefits of the two peoples, according to the ministry.
In this regard, they welcomed the progress made for an early conclusion of bilateral Preferential Trade Agreement for enhancing and facilitating trade between the two South Asian countries.
Momen also called for enhanced trade and tourism by commercial shipping and cruise shipping lines between Chattogram, Bangladesh’s premier seaport, and the Colombo Port, said the foreign ministry.
On Wednesday, Rajapaksa also chaired the virtual 5th BIMSTEC summit while urging enhanced cooperation among the BIMSTEC member countries of India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Thailand.
Meanwhile the progress with regard to a Preferential Trade Agreement was discussed between the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka and the Foreign Minister of Bangladesh.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Prof. G. L. Peiris held discussions with the Foreign Minister of Bangladesh Dr. A. K. Abdul Momen MP, on the sidelines of the 5th Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) Summit held in Colombo under the Chairmanship of President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa on 30 March, 2022.
Among matters discussed was cooperation in the field of higher education, synergies in respect of the apparel industry in the two countries, greater connectivity and integration between the ports of Colombo and Chittagong, and collaboration in international trade.