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Malaysia aims to strengthen economic ties with Bangladesh through a free trade agreement (FTA)

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economic, free trade agreement , Bangladesh & Malaysia

Malaysia is looking to deepen its economic partnership with Bangladesh through the conclusion of a free trade agreement (FTA) between the two countries. Dato Norman Muhamad, the deputy secretary general (bilateral affairs) of Malaysia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, revealed this during a courtesy call on State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam on May 9.
He called for a more diversified collaboration between Bangladesh and Malaysia, given Bangladesh’s fast-growing economic potential under Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s leadership. The two countries have seen growing commerce in recent years, with Bangladesh becoming Malaysia’s second-largest commercial partner in South Asia.

The importance of strengthening economic ties between South Asian and Southeast Asian neighborhoods

economic, free trade agreement , Bangladesh & Malaysia

State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam emphasized the need for regional integration and partnership to take full advantage of the ongoing momentum in South Asian and Southeast Asian neighborhoods. He expressed confidence in the strong foundation of Bangladesh-Malaysia bilateral relations, forged over the last 50 years. He also sought a more proactive role for Malaysia and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in facilitating the expedited repatriation of the Rohingya people sheltered in Bangladesh. He emphasized the importance of strengthening economic ties between South Asian and Southeast Asian neighborhoods and suggested that Malaysia could play a pivotal role in this regard. He also urged greater cooperation between Bangladesh and Malaysia to address regional issues such as the Rohingya crisis.
The third bilateral consultation between Bangladesh and Malaysia is scheduled to be held on May 10, 2023. It will be attended by a five-member Malaysian delegation led by the deputy secretary general. Both countries have active and cooperative relationships in various areas such as trade and investment, human resources, education, aviation, tourism, sports, research and technology, and more. The meeting aims to strengthen the existing ties between the two countries and explore new opportunities for collaboration. It is expected to result in the signing of several agreements and MOUs that will benefit both nations.
Over the past 25 years, Bangladesh’s exports to Malaysia have grown at an annualized rate of 12.4%, from $10.9 million in FY1994–1995 to $337 million in FY2021–2022. Tipu Munshi emphasized the need to sign an FTA between Bangladesh and Malaysia to boost trade and investment. Bangladesh exports various products to Malaysia and has a high demand for Malaysian palm oil, furniture, chocolate, and fruits. Bangladesh can profit more by setting up factories to produce these products at a lower cost. An FTA between Bangladesh and Malaysia would not only increase trade and investment but also create job opportunities in both countries. It would also strengthen the economic ties between the two nations and pave the way for future collaborations.

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