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Trade and Investment Dialogue 2023 held between Bangladesh-UK

The second Trade and Investment Dialogue between Bangladesh and the UK took place in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on February 19, 2023. The representation of the Bangladesh government was done by the Commerce Secretary, Mr. Tapan Kanti Ghosh. The UK delegation was led by the British High Commissioner, Mr. Robert Chatterton Dickson, and Mr. Alan Gemmell OBE, His Majesty’s Trade Commissioner for South Asia. Both countries consented to convene the dialogue on an annual basis and its Joint Working Group (JWG) regularly.

The JWG would encompass a greater range of trade and investment issues that include mutual barriers to market access and trade, with a particular agenda agreed upon in advance between the Bangladesh and UK governments. Both countries emphasized the significance of the dialogue and the JWG as a step towards the achievement of an enhanced and stronger relationship.

Bangladesh and the United Kingdom agreed to strengthen their bilateral trading relationships in order to improve mutual prosperity prior to and following Bangladesh’s graduation from Least Developed Country (LDC) status. The economic growth and resilience of Bangladesh have been recognized by the UK despite the widespread ramifications of the global pandemic and ongoing global economic crisis.

The generous Developing Countries Trading Scheme (DCTS) of the UK has been welcomed by Bangladesh, which has acknowledged its role in consolidating Bangladesh into the global economy and initiating stronger trade and investment opportunities. The commitments under DCTS were reflected by the UK’s participation in international conventions on labor standards and human rights, climate change, anti-corruption, and the environment.

The cooperation areas, such as LDC graduation, pharmaceuticals, investment cooperation, financial sector development, ease of doing business, taxation issues, intellectual property protection, and higher education provision, were discussed by the UK and Bangladesh.

 Bangladesh has been encouraged by the UK to explore investment opportunities in the UK services sector, incorporating financial and professional services. Bangladesh reiterated the significance of the ready-made garment sector to both Bangladesh and the UK. The UK further delineated the private sector-led aerospace offer to Bangladesh. Both countries acknowledged the importance of high-quality education and decided to further strengthen and expand the scope of cooperation in the sector of higher education for mutual benefit.

His Majesty’s Trade Commissioner of South Asia, Mr. Alan Gemmell OBE, said that the relationship between the UK and Bangladesh is underpinned by the potential of their trade and investment relationship, which would help both countries’ economies grow. Foreign Direct Investment lays the foundation to provide jobs, generate revenue, transfer skills, create competition, and drive standards higher. The removal of market access barriers and a conducive business climate will be beneficial for both countries and highlight great opportunities for UK businesses.

Concluding the dialogue, the Commerce Secretary said that the historic relationship between Bangladesh and the UK is based on mutual interest and common values. Bangladesh has a keen interest in taking this relationship to a new height through economic and trade cooperation. He believes that this dialogue would contribute towards increasing trade and investment in both countries.