Four Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and three agreements were signed between Bhutan and Bangladesh during the recent state visit of Her Excellency Sheikh Hasina, PM of Bangladesh, to Bhutan.
The MoU on the use of Inland waterways will make Mongla and Chittagong ports in Bangladesh accessible to Bhutan which will reduce time and cost incurred to transport goods. Until now Bhutan has been using the Kolkata seaports in West Bengal, India, for inter trade with the third countries.
An MoU was also between Bhutan Standards Bureau (BSB) and Bangladesh Standards & Testing Institution (BSTI) which will assist the two agencies in the development of standards, exchange information on product certification, recognize test certificates and support each other in the field of metrology and calibration services.
The Royal University of Bhutan (RUB), and Bangladesh Academy for Rural Development (BARD), signed an MoU to establish mutual collaboration and reinforce the academic relationship between the two institutions and strengthen capacity for sustainable development.
There are around 123 Bhutanese students studying in Bangladesh with half and full scholarship and the government of Bhutan said that such educational programs could be further provided to more Bhutanese students. PM Sheikh Hasina said that special seats could be kept for the Bhutanese medical students wishing to study at Rangpur Medical College and other medical institutions in Bangladesh.
The Bhutan Agriculture and Food Regulatory Authority (BAFRA), and the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE), Ministry of Agriculture, Bangladesh, signed an MoU to ensure that the trade of food and agricultural products between the two countries are safe and meet the requirements of the importing country by accepting each other’s testing and certification. The MoU will also remove non-tariff barriers.
Bhutan and Bangladesh also signed agreements to renew cooperation on culture cooperation to encourage hosting of cultural art exhibitions, provide support through scholarships, training and research in the field of art and culture, and on avoiding double taxation and prevention of evasion of taxes on Income.
A new agreement was signed on the Allotment of user Right of land under Hejo, Thimphu. The agreement will grant the Bangladesh the User Rights of the land measuring 65,340 sq ft for the construction of the Bangladesh embassy in the capital.
Cooperation in hydropower to water resources, trade and commerce, culture, ICT, education, health and agriculture were discussed during the visit. In regard to tourism, Lyonchhen Tshering Tobgay said that Bhutan will send a delegation to Bangladesh on ways to initiate and explore more potential ways to boost tourism with a focus in certain places like Cox’s Bazar and Kuakata.