By P.K. Balachandran
Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are envisaging the setting up of Joint Ventures between the private and public sector entities of the two countries in a wide variety of fields including apparels and pharmaceuticals according to a joint statement issued by the two countries at the end of the three day visit of President Maithripala Sirisena to Bangladesh on Saturday.
The two leaders said that the 14 MoUs on economic cooperation signed during the visit will lead to the signing of a Free Trade Agreement before year end.
Among the fields mentioned for joint ventures are: agriculture and agro processing ; fisheries; dairy farming, textiles; gems and jewelry, religious and eco-tourism; health management, energy and power; and shipping.
A decision was taken to promote investments in the Special Industrial and Economic Zones of the two countries with both governments taking steps to guarantee investments; avoid double taxation; bring down tariffs; and reduce non-tariff barriers. In this context Bangladesh requested Sri Lanka to simplify the procedures for the registration of Bangladeshi pharmaceutical companies.
The two leaders welcomed the signing of agreements between the investment promotion authorities and Central Banks of the two countries. They hoped that the talks on collaboration in coastal shipping will be concluded soon so that shipping services between the two countries could be started.
Bangladesh offered to share its experience in disaster management and agricultural production.
It drew Sri Lanka’s attention to the fact that many Sri Lankans are working in Bangladesh in services and professionals and that these constitute the single largest group of workers from the South Asian region in the country. It then sought reciprocal facilities for Bangladeshis to work in Sri Lanka.
“The two leaders agreed to work together to take forward and facilitate the movement of citizens of
both countries in a mutually beneficial manner,” the joint statement said.
Two leaders decided to work together to promote South Asian cooperation, strengthen SAARC and regional organizations like BIMSTEC.
To fight the scourge of terrorism and religious disharmony the two leaders agreed to organize a broad based dialogue on tolerance inclusion and pluralism in 2018.