Calls for strong Nepal-Bangladesh ties, connectivity

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Diplomats, experts and officials have called for maximising trade and investment opportunities by enhancing connectivity between Nepal and Bangladesh.

Speaking in the second edition of the Nepal-Bangladesh Business Forum (NBBF) with a theme “Beyond Bilateralism: Cooperation for Prosperity”, Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury, media advisor to Prime Minister of Bangladesh, underlined the smooth bilateral relations between Nepal and Bangladesh and stressed the need to maximise the bilateral trade. “Even though commerce between Nepal and Bangladesh have steadily increased in the recent past, trade potential and investment opportunities have not been exploited at their maximum,” Chowdhury noted, underlining the role of such forum towards enhancing the trade potential between the two countries. The NBBF is a bilateral platform for policy makers, diplomats, business leaders, entrepreneurs, scholars, media, among others, to discuss various issues related to bilateral economic cooperation, including trade, tourism, connectivity, energy. Additional Secretary of the government of Bangladesh Jalal Ahmed; Chairperson Nepal Bangladesh Bank Limited Bindu N Lohani; former vice-president of Asian Development Bank and governor of Nepal Rastra Bank Deependra Bahadur Kshetry and  former secretary at the Ministry of Commerce and Supplies Purushottam Ojha spoke about various facets of the bilateral ties. The speakers underlined the role of multilateral and bilateral banks towards reinforcing economic cooperation and integration. In numerous strategic areas where banks’ involvement is necessary, such as physical connectivity and infrastructure development, trade and investment facilitation through tariff negotiations, assistance in financial market expansion and cooperation on public goods provision, they said.

On the occasion, Director General of the Department of Railways Ananta Acharya; CEO of Bangladesh Foreign Trade Institute Ali Ahmed and Research and Development Director at AIDIA Shyam KC stressed that Nepal and Bangladesh need to explore the efficient connectivity corridor as well as port facilities. The reasons of low level of trade between the two countries have been drawn up the supply and demand mismatch and insufficient connectivity infrastructure, they pointed out. The speakers called for bilateral and regional transit agreements to promote trade and business, road networks, rail infrastructure and sea port access enhancement for strengthening the economic cooperation. In her closing remarks, Bangladeshi Ambassador to Nepal Mashfee Binte Shams said taking into account the suggestions of the business community and entrepreneurs they had decided to focus more on banking and connectivity issues in the second edition of the NBBF.

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