The Hon’ble Prime Minister of Bangladesh H.E. Sheikh Hasina made an official visit to Brunei Darussalam on 21-23 April 2019. His Majesty warmly welcomed the timely visit of the Hon’ble Prime Minister, which coincides with the 35th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Brunei Darussalam and the People’s Republic of Bangladesh. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina expressed her sincere gratitude to His Majesty for extending her the invitation to visit Brunei Darussalam. The leaders expressed satisfaction on the friendly and long-standing relations between Brunei Darussalam & Bangladesh. They reaffirmed their commitment to capitalise on the potentials of the two economies for mutual benefits.
Brunei Darussalam acknowledged the success of Bangladesh in the food and agricultural sector, and welcomed collaboration in the fields of agriculture, aquaculture, fisheries and livestock sectors. The leaders acknowledged the potential in enhancing bilateral trade and encouraged active exchanges between their local business people. They actively considered the possibility of a preferential trade arrangement under appropriate mechanisms and intended a joint feasibility study to this effect.
Both leaders recognized the potential for investments and discussed the promotion of reciprocal investments between the two countries particularly in sectors such as food processing, energy, ICT, ship-building, manufacturing, tourism infrastructure, blue economy and jute industry. Brunei expressed deep interest in exploring the global Halal food market by taking advantage of special economic zones of Bangladesh as the manufacturing base.
Given the growing demand of energy in Bangladesh to support rapid economic growth, both sides agreed to explore the possibility of comprehensive collaboration in the energy sector via a Government-to-Government (G2G) arrangement including liquefied natural gas (LNG) supply to Bangladesh as well as the participation of both public and private sectors, covering such areas as investments and trade in petro-chemicals, offshore oil and gas exploration, technical collaboration, and capacity building.
Both sides agreed to strengthen cooperation in the health sector such as training and recruitment of healthcare professionals, manufacturing and trade in pharmaceuticals, as well as collaboration in specialized healthcare services. Both sides encouraged closer cooperation among the financial institutions of the two countries to enhance the operation of financial services for the effective facilitation of bilateral trade and exchanges.
The leaders expressed satisfaction over existing cooperation and engagements among both countries’ defence forces in mutually beneficial areas, including personnel training. Both sides encouraged to develop deeper cooperation in defence particularly in capacity building, knowledge sharing, peace-building and humanitarian operations.
Both leaders acknowledged the valuable contributions of expatriate workers in the economic development of both sending and receiving states, and in this regard, encouraged their officials to explore the possibility of negotiating a Memorandum of Understanding on Labour Cooperation within a built consultation mechanism.
Recognizing the importance of people-to-people exchanges in the strengthening of bilateral relations, His Majesty and Sheikh Hasina agreed to continue efforts to foster wider and deeper collaboration among their respective countries’ academic institutions through visits, training programmes, student and staff mobility, information exchange, and research and development. The two sides agreed to actively consider improving the connectivity between the two countries and welcomed the early signing of the Air Services Agreement.
The leaders welcomed the convening of the First Foreign Office Consultation in Dhaka on September 9, 2018 and looked forward to the Second Foreign Office Consultation in Bandar Seri Begawan in 2020.
The Hon’ble Prime Minister of Bangladesh congratulated His Majesty on the commendable progress of Brunei Darussalam under His Majesty’s visionary leadership, which “had also contributed to preserving the peace, stability and prosperity of Brunei Darussalam”. The Hon’ble Prime Minister also commended His Majesty for the significant achievements in the implementation of Brunei Darussalam’s strategic national development policies under Brunei Vision 2035.
His Majesty commended the Hon’ble Prime Minister on Bangladesh’s remarkable economic growth and outstanding achievements in the social sectors under her prudent leadership. His Majesty also congratulated Bangladesh for successfully fulfilling the eligibility criteria set by the United Nations (UN) to be elevated and recognized as a developing country.
The monarch acknowledged the contributions of the Government of Bangladesh to global peace, migration, environment protection, development, and humanitarian operation as well as their wide participation in United Nations-led peacekeeping missions.
Brunei Darussalam acknowledged Bangladesh’s humanitarian assistance and repatriation initiatives for 1.1 million displaced persons from the Rakhine State, temporarily sheltered in Bangladesh. Brunei Darussalam commended Bangladesh’s humanitarian gesture and generous assistance as well as the efforts towards their safe, dignified, voluntary, and sustainable repatriation.
The Hon’ble Prime Minister also appreciated the continued invaluable support and contribution of the Government of His Majesty, including financial assistance and critical medical and health assistance to the field hospital in Cox’s Bazaar.
The two sides agreed to further deepen cooperation in regional and international fora, including the UN; the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC); the Commonwealth, and the ASEAN Regional Forum on issues of common interest and concern including extremism, terrorism, environmental protection, and sustainable development.
Both sides agreed to work together to promote a rules-based framework, peace, stability, and prosperity for the region and the world. Both leaders acknowledged Bangladesh’s continued interest to strengthen its relations with ASEAN and agreed that there is much potential in developing cooperation that can be mutually beneficial.
The Hon’ble Prime Minister expressed gratitude to His Majesty and the people of Brunei Darussalam for according her and her delegation a warm welcome and the generous hospitality shown. The Hon’ble Prime Minister also extended an invitation to His Majesty to visit Bangladesh at the earliest convenient time.
The leaders witnessed the signing of six Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) in the areas of scientific and technical cooperation in agriculture; fisheries; livestock; supply of LNG; youth and sports; and culture and arts. The leaders also welcomed the Exchange of Notes on the visa waiver arrangement for diplomatic and official passports for both countries.
The two leaders expressed conviction that these bilateral instruments will take the relationship between the two countries to new heights in the future.