Foreign Secretary Md. Shahidul Haque, leading a Bangladesh delegation, held a series of meetings at the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development of the Government of Canada, and discussed all aspects of bilateral relations between the two countries during his official visit to Ottawa today.
In the morning, Foreign Secretary met the Canadian Deputy Minister for Trade Ms. Christian Hogan, and discussed the current status of bilateral trade and investment as well as its future expansion. At present, the both-way trade stands at US$1.9 billion where Bangladesh exports to Canada constitute more than one billion dollar.
Foreign Secretary called upon Canadian Government to increase exports from Bangladesh from various sectors including shipbuilding, light engineering, ceramics, pharmaceuticals, electronics and IT. He also highlighted the congenial atmosphere of investment that is prevailing in Bangladesh, and stressed the importance of having a Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA) with Canada.
With Canada’s Senior Associate Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Mr. Peter Boehm, Foreign Secretary held official talks in the afternoon. During this meeting, Foreign Secretary raised the issue of the repatriation of Noor Chowdhury, the convicted killer of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, and requested the Canadian Government to extradite him to Bangladesh.
Senior Associate Deputy Minister replied that the Canadian Government will look into this with due seriousness. Foreign Secretary also discussed the whole gamut of the existing bilateral relations, including the transformation in the RMG sector, post 2015 Development Agenda, rise of extremists, counter-radicalization efforts and stressed the people to people contacts. He requested the Government of Canada to re-open the visa facilities for Bangladesh citizens in Dhaka. On the other hand, Canada sought Bangladesh’s collaboration in the areas of empowerment of women and gender equity as well as post-2015 development agenda in the context of Commonwealth and the United Nations respectively.
Later during the day, Foreign Secretary exchanged views with Assistant Deputy Minister Ms. Susan Gregson on Bangladesh’s development partnership with Canada. She revealed that Bangladesh remains ‘a country of focus’ for Canada’s development assistance, in particular, in the fields of maternal and child health, education, sustainable economic growth projects, etc. Kamrul Ahsan, High Commissioner of Bangladesh to Canada and Mahfuzur Rahman, Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs were present during these meetings.