South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon yesterday assured Bangladesh of considering duty-free, quota-free market access for all Bangla-deshi products to their market as the bilateral trade is heavily tilted towards Korea.
The assurance came during the official summit talks between Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her South Korean counterpart Lee Nak-yon at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) in the city.
During the talks, Hasina requested South Korea to consider allowing du-ty-free, quota-free market access for all Bangladeshi products to narrow down the trade imbalance.
PM’s Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim briefed reporters after the official talks.
Both prime ministers led their respective sides at the 40-minute summit talks.
“The Korean side informed that they have earmarked US$ 1 billion ODA [Overseas Development Assistances] for Bangladesh for 2020,” Ihsanul said.
He said different bilateral issues, including trade, commerce, investment, technical cooperation and Rohingya crisis, were discussed at the summit.
At the bilateral talks, Hasina said Korea has substantial investment in textiles, tanneries and footwear factories in EPZs of Bangladesh.
Recalling that Korean companies were the first to invest in the RMG sector in Bangladesh during her first term in 1996-2001, Hasina said Korea may invest in “Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Shilpa Nagar”, which has the most potential as an investment hub for investors under the G2G and PPP models.
She urged South Korea to import woven garments, pharmaceuticals, knitwear, jute and jute products, leather and leather goods, frozen food and ceramic items from Bangladesh.
On the Rohingya issue, the Korean team highly appreciated Bangladesh for giving shelter to the forcibly-displaced people. They said they would do anything they could over the issue, Ihsanul said.
Noting Bangladesh’s trade potential, the Korean team members said there were huge investment opportunities here.
They said Korea wanted to cooperate with Bangladesh in the energy, ICT and defence sectors.
On his arrival at the PMO at 4:20pm, the South Korean PM was received by Hasina at the Tiger gate and then the two leaders moved to the meeting room.
Both PMs had a private conversation before the official talks.
After the talks, three instruments were signed between Dhaka and Seoul.
Lee Nak-yon arrived here on Saturday afternoon on a three-day official visit.
He is scheduled to leave Dhaka at 11:00am today.
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen will see him off at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport.
The South Korean PM will then visit Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Qatar as part of his four-nation tour from July 13-21.
DHAKA, SEOUL SIGN 3 INSTRUMENTS
Bangladesh and South Korea signed three instruments on strengthening cooperation in the areas of investment, culture and diplomatic training.
The instruments were inked after the official talks between the two countries at the PMO.
Hasina and her South Korean counterpart Lee Nak-yon witnessed the signing ceremony.
The instruments are a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) and Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA), a document on cultural exchange programmes between Bangladesh and South Korea for 2019-2023, and an MoU on cooperation between the Korea National Diplo-matic Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, South Korea and the Foreign Service Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Bangladesh.
BIDA Executive Chairman Kazi M Aminul Islam and KOTRA Chief Exec-utive Officer Kwon Pyung-oh signed the first instrument on behalf of their respective sides, while Cultural Affairs Secretary in-charge Dr Md Abu Hena Mostofa Kamal and Vice Foreign Minister of South Korea Lee Tae Ho inked the second instrument.
Principal of Foreign Service Academy Syed Masud Mahmood Khundoker and the vice foreign minister of South Korea signed the third instrument on behalf of their respective sides.
KOREAN PM PAYS TRIBUTE TO LIBERATION WAR MARTYRS
South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon paid tribute to Liberation War martyrs by placing wreaths at the National Mausoleum yesterday morn-ing.
A contingent drawn from the army, navy and air force presented a guard of honour to him.
Later, the South Korean PM signed the visitors’ book and planted a sap-ling.
Liberation War Affairs Minister AKM Mozammel Haque, Housing and Public Works Minister SM Rezaul Karim, Land Minister Saifuzzaman Chowdhury and State Minister for Disaster Management and Relief Dr Md Enamur Rahman received Lee Nak-yon upon his arrival at the National Mausoleum.
The Korean Prime Minister visited Youngone Hi-tech Sportswear in Savar EPZ and the National Institute of Advanced Nursing Education and Research at Mugdapara in the city.
He will pay homage to Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman at the Bangabandhu Memorial Museum in the capital’s Dhanmondi today.