Serbia wants to increase trade with Bangladesh
Bangladesh and Serbia are very keen to increase bilateral trade as it is still in very low volume and have expressed the wish to sign an agreement to facilitate bilateral trade.
The topic came up during a discussion between Bangladesh’s Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen and his visiting Serbian counterpart Nikola Selaković at the Foreign Service Academy on Wednesday.
Moreover, Bangladesh is happy to send skilled labor to this South Eastern European country.
Meanwhile, Dhaka-Belgrade on Wednesday signed two memorandums of understanding on visa waivers for diplomatic and official passport holders as well as those engaged in bilateral consultations between foreign ministries.
The MoU was signed by the Foreign Minister of Bangladesh and his Serbian counterpart.
“The agreement on visa waiver will be instrumental for the exchange of visits between Bangladesh and Serbia and the Memorandum of Understanding on bilateral consultations between the two foreign offices will be helpful in taking stock of the status of bilateral relations and also to find new ways and new avenues of cooperation between our two countries,” Momen said during a press briefing at the Foreign Service Academy where the Serbian minister was also present.
Momen said, “We discussed a wide range of bilateral and multilateral issues. We discussed how we could exploit the cordial relationship in economic cooperation to increase bilateral trade.”
The FM said, “Our two foreign offices will work together to identify products and services. We hope to sign an agreement to facilitate bilateral trade.”
Nikola Selaković said: “We discussed establishing direct communication between our two chambers of commerce. be an opportunity to achieve our common interests and enhance our cooperation to a higher level.”
Momen said there will be a joint chamber of commerce so that trade and commerce can be accelerated.
In 2018-2019, Bangladesh exported goods worth $17.7 million to Serbia, according to the Foreign Ministry.
Items exported from Bangladesh to Serbia include garments and clothing accessories, textiles, footwear, headwear and parts, etc.
On the other hand, Bangladesh’s imports from Serbia amounted to $2.20 million in the financial year 2017-2018.
Imported items include prepared foods, tobacco, prepared animal foods, chemicals, vehicles, aircraft, ships and parts, etc.
Possibility to send qualified professionals
Bangladesh FM said they also discussed the possibilities of sending doctors, engineers, nurses, skilled and semi-skilled labor and English teachers from Bangladesh to Serbia to meet the growing needs.
“There is potential in a sector that Serbia has swallowed up in very large-scale infrastructural development. They have a lot of jobs there,” he said.
However, the FM mentioned that one problem was that their embassy was in New Delhi, so getting a visa was difficult.
“Also, we discussed the issue of the scholarship they offered to students, but unfortunately only two students applied. So, maybe people don’t know about this scholarship to study in Serbia,” said he added.
Bilateral relations with Serbia, part of the former Yugoslavia, are rooted in history. After its independence on December 16, 1971, the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY) was one of the first European countries to recognize Bangladesh on January 22, 1972.