Bangladesh has urged Bimstec member states to conclude the Bimstec Free Trade Area (FTA) negotiations as early as possible.
Bangladesh conveyed its position at the seventeenth session of the Bimstec Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM) held on Tuesday in Kathmandu, Nepal after about three years.
Foreign Secretary Md Shahidul Haque who led the six-member Bangladesh delegation at the meeting also emphasised revitalising the activities of Bimstec and to have strong and meaningful cooperation among the Member States in the areas of counterterrorism, transnational crime; trade and investment, climate change and technology.
As the current chair of Bimstec, Shankar Das Bairagi, the Foreign Secretary of Nepal chaired the Foreign Secretary-level meeting.
Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand are the Members of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (Bimstec).
The meeting discussed various issues, including the administrative and budgetary issues of the Bimstec Secretariat and the future directions of Bimstec.
The meeting deliberated extensively on the outcome of the Bimstec leader’s retreat held in Goa, India on October 16 last year and the Agenda of Action, agreed by the leaders of Bimstec during informal consultations at the retreat held on the sideline of Brics-Bimstec Outreach Summit.
During the meeting, Bangladesh offered to host a workshop on Agenda 2030 to explore the interface between the Agenda 2030 and the Bimstec fourteen priority areas of cooperation in the second half of 2017, International Conference on Blue Economy in July 2017, 21st Meeting of the Bimstec Trade Negotiation Committee in March 2017, workshop on Climate Change in 2017, Second Ministerial Meeting of the Bimstec Ministers of Culture in 2017, and Bimstec Tourism Ministers’ Roundtable in 2017.
Other member states also offered to host various relevant sectoral meetings, according to the Foreign Ministry here.
Sri Lanka offered to host Meetings on Technology Transfer and Poverty Alleviation, while India offered to host International Conference on Countering Radicalization, first meeting of the national security chiefs, first meeting of Bimstec Task Force on Traditional Medicine, Joint Exercise on Disaster Management and first Meeting of Network of Tour Operators. Nepal will host the Third Energy Ministers’ Meeting in March 2017 and Bimstec Ministerial Meeting in June 2017.
The 17th SOM was preceded by the seventh meeting of the Bimstec Joint Working Group on the Establishment of the Permanent Secretariat of Bimstec and the Second Preparatory Meeting to the Seventeenth Session of the Bimstec Senior Officials’ Meeting.