New Trajectory of Bangladesh-Kazakhstan Relations

SONY DSCThe two countries enjoy cordial diplomatic relations and are working towards strengthening them further. Bangladesh established diplomatic relations with Kazakhstan in February of 1992. Both countries are served by non-resident Embassies, with Kazakhstan’s Embassy in Islamabad being accredited to Bangladesh and Bangladesh’s Embassy in Tashkent is concurrently accredited to Kazakhstan.

The People’s Republic of Bangladesh has joined CICA this year. Bangladesh’s Finance Minister Ama Muhith has visited Astana in April 2014 during the 47th Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of Asian Development Bank (ADB). Mr. Muhith has stressed the need for coordinated initiatives for stronger economic ties with Kazakhstan. Last year, I was appointed a new ambassador to Tashkent and presented my credentials as a non-resident ambassador in Kazakhstan in October 2013.

Bangladesh’s Foreign Minister visited Astana in June 2011 to take part in a meeting of OIC Foreign Ministers and again in September 2012 to participate in the 20th Commemorative Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers of CICA.

In such multi-lateral flora, Bangladesh and Kazakhstan have a good track record of cooperation, Kazakhstan, for example, supported Bangladesh’s candidacy for a non-permanent seat in the UN Security Council and membership of the Executive Board of UNESCO in 1999. They have also supported a number of Bangladesh’s proposals in the international arena, including the declaration of 21st February as International Mother Language Day. Bangladesh, in turn, has supported Kazakhstan’s membership of the Executive Board of UNESCO and its candidacy to host Expo 2017.

Bangladesh is closely monitoring these developments and continuously seeking opportunities for new avenues of mutual cooperation between the two countries.

The President of Kazakhstan has made major investments in the infrastructure of his country; the newly constructed city of Astana is his greatest legacy. Bangladesh is considering the possibility of exporting labour to Kazakhstan.

Both governments are actively pursuing the boosting of economic ties. The Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Kazakhstan, for example, has offered to sign a bilateral agreement on cooperation with the Federation of Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) in order to facilitate trade and economic relations between the business communities of the two countries. A draft contract is currently under active consideration.

Bangladeshi companies, under the auspices of the Bangladesh Export Promotion Bureau (EPB), participated in international trade fairs held in Almaty; most recently at a pharmaceutical trade fair on May 14-16, 2012. In October 2013, a 10-member Trade Delegation, led by commerce secretary Mahbub Ahmed, visited Astana to increase bilateral trade cooperation in the fields of RMGs, ceramics, pharmaceuticals, etc.

Although Bangladesh imports a significant amount of Kazakh products, exports to Kazakhstan are mainly limited to a small quantity of tea, jute, jute products, leather products, leather and garments.

To strengthen trade relations, agreements on trade and economic cooperation, investor protection, avoidance of double taxation and cultural cooperation must be signed. To promote trade and economic relations with Kazakhstan, the Government of Bangladesh through Sonali Bank credited $6.5 million to Turin Bank of Kazakhstan, to facilitate the purchase of various goods from Bangladesh with a guarantee offered by the Ministry of Finance of the Government of Kazakhstan. From the Kazakh side, Turin Bank received the credit fund and amount.

The Bangladesh Embassy for Kazakhstan, with residence in Tashkent, eagerly supports the growth of bilateral ties is working to promote large initiatives between the two countries, especially in trade and commerce.

The author is the ambassador of Bangladesh to Kazakhstan with a residence in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

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