The first Foreign Office Consultations (FOC) between Bangladesh and the Philippines is held today in Manila in a very warm, friendly and cordial atmosphere. An MOU was signed to formalize the regular FOC between the two countries.
Bangladesh delegation was led by the Foreign Secretary Md. Shahidul Haque, while the Philippines side was headed by the Undersecretary of the Philippines Department of Foreign Affairs Laura Q. Del Rosario.
During the meeting, both sides had an intensive and open exchange of views on a wide range of bilateral, regional and international issues. The two sides agreed to further strengthen bilateral cooperation in a number of areas including trade, blue economy, fisheries and aquaculture and defense.
Bangladesh side highlighted the comparative advantage of certain Bangladeshi products like pharmaceutical, readymade garments, leather goods and potato. On the other hand, the Philippines side requested for increased access of the Filipinos in the service sector of Bangladesh.
The Philippines side also showed keen interest for making investments in the fisheries sector of Bangladesh particularly in the context of the emerging potentials following the delimitation of maritime boundaries with India and Myanmar.
The two sides also discussed to increase cooperation in the fields of sports and culture as well. They agreed to explore the possibilities of holding joint painting exhibition in the Philippines soon. The Philippines side appreciated the role of Bangladesh in peacekeeping and expressed interest to learn more from Bangladesh in this regard.
The two countries expressed the hope that with the successful holding of the first FOC the existing bilateral relations would be taken to new heights. Bangladesh side invited the Philippines to go to Dhaka for the 2nd FOC in the first half of 2016.