UK Prime Minister David Cameron has appointed Bangladesh-born British MP Rushanara Ali as trade envoy for Bangladesh.
The announcement came on the occasion of the Bangla New Year Pahela Baishakh and the appointment underlined the importance the UK attaches to its trade and investment partnership with Bangladesh, British High Commission in Dhaka said in a press release yesterday.
Rushanara is the first person of Bangladeshi origin to be elected to the British parliament. She is the Labour Party MP for the constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow.
In her parliamentary career, she has been Shadow Minister for Education and International Development and a member of the Parliamentary Treasury Select Committee.
She currently serves as a member of the Parliamentary Select Committee for Energy and Climate Change.
“I am delighted to have been appointed to this cross-party role as the UK trade envoy to Bangladesh,” Rushanara said on her appointment as the trade envoy.
“The UK and Bangladesh have historic and longstanding ties. Bangladesh has been identified by UKTI [UK Trade and Investment] as an emerging market with substantial trade and investment opportunities.
“It is a country of particular importance to me: a third of my constituents have Bangladeshi heritage and I was the first person of Bangladeshi origin to be elected to the UK parliament. I want to see Britain play a twin role helping Bangladesh thrive economically and supporting the country's efforts to tackle the threat of climate change,” Rushanara said.
“I am delighted that at the start of the new Bengali year, the prime minister has appointed Rushanara Ali MP as the UK's trade envoy for Bangladesh,” British High Commissioner to Bangladesh Alison Blake was quoted as saying.
The cross-party Trade Envoy programme was established in 2012 to build bilateral trade relationships and help drive economic growth in countries identified as key markets for the UK.
Two-way trade between the UK and Bangladesh stands at £2.3m. The UK has strong business interests in Bangladesh and remains the largest foreign investor.
Over 100 British companies are operating in sectors including retail, banking, energy, infrastructure, consultancy and education with main centres of operation in Dhaka, Chittagong and Sylhet. The UK is also the third single largest destination for exports from Bangladesh.
Through UKAID the UK remains the largest bilateral donor of grant aid to Bangladesh (£180 million in FY2014/15), added the release.