Foreign Minister Dr Dipu Moni on Sunday urged the diplomats, business persons, entrepreneurs and government officials to devote their thoughts and ideas towards devising tomorrow’s partnership with Korea and find out modalities for people-to-people contacts.
“I appeal you all to devote your thoughts and ideas for devising tomorrow’s partnership not only to uplift the standard of the lives of our peoples but also devise modalities to bring people-to-people contact from fiction to reality. Let’s continue our efforts,” she said while addressing a seminar on Korea-Bangladesh partnership as the chief guest.
Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS) arranged the seminar titled ‘Strengthening Strategic Partnerships between Bangladesh and Korea’ at a city hotel.
Prime Minister’s Foreign Affairs Adviser Dr Gowher Rizvi, South Korean Ambassador in Dhaka Lee Yun-young, BIISS Chairman of the Board of Governors Ambassador Munshi Faiz Ahmad and its Director General Maj Gen Sajjadul Haque spoke at the inaugural session of the seminar.
The Foreign Minister gratefully recalled Korean contributions towards development of Bangladesh’s RMG industry during its formative years.
She said Bangladesh-Korea relations have grown over the years to develop a comprehensive partnership. “Bilaterally, we’re working closely through trade and commerce, investment and development cooperation, human resource exchanges, people-to-people contact and cultural exchanges.”
Dipu Moni said Bangladesh cannot expect a better partner than Korea when it talks about ‘Green’ initiatives and climate change challenges.
She laid emphasis on continuing partnership for sustainable economic growth, structural changes, welfare mechanism to distribute the benefits of economic growth more equitably, and more important of all, ensure development of human capital.
Gowher Rizvi said Bangladesh is looking for partners and investments in building infrastructures, ports, roads and railways under the public-private partnership. “We’re now looking for partners, partners for building infrastructures, ports, roads and railways under the PPP,” he said.
Gowher Rizvi also felt the necessity of government-to-government schemes for human resource development so that the young force can play a role in economic development more meaningfully.
Appreciating the role of Korea and Korean investors in Bangladesh, the Advisor said, “Korea has been a great development partner of Bangladesh.”
Recalling the first Korean investment in the late 70s, Rizvi said it was a courage step and part of Korean bold commitment.
He said Bangladesh is truly on the way forward today achieving most of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) maintaining around 7 percent growth over the last four years.
“A remarkable transformation has been in place in terms of per capita income, food security, power generation and building infrastructure,” he said adding that today nobody is suffering from food crisis.
Korean envoy Yun-young said, “Time has come to put our heads together to discuss how deeply the two countries are committed to a shared future of growth and prosperity, and find ways to upgrade our relationship into strategic partnership.”
He said this can be defined as more diversified and muti-layered relationship sharing not only basic values such as democracy and market economy but also the strategic approach to international affairs between the two countries.
On trade issue, the Korean envoy said 95 percent of Bangladesh products are enjoying duty-free access to Korea. “The export from Bangladesh to Korea is recently increasing sharply. I believe it’s a healthy sign of mutually-beneficial relationship.”
He said on top of this Korea’s strong presence in garment industry, Korean investment to Bangladesh is being further intensified and diversified into many innovative areas such as infrastructure, energy, R&D sector and business service.
“Not only big companies are expanding their investment, even small and medium enterprises are rushing out to explore business opportunities with Bangladeshi partners,” said the envoy.
Besides, he said, there huge potentials and opportunities to strengthen and upgrade relationship in a mutually beneficial way.
He hoped that the seminar will serve as an excellent opportunity to make the relationship much mature by further broadening mutual understanding and exploring ways to diversify and deepen friendly relationship in a mutually beneficial way.
The envoy also said Korean people feel proud that Bangladesh and Korea have gone hand in hand for a long time.
“Koreans were one of the first frontiers who came and invested in Bangladesh. As early as in the 1970s, Korean entrepreneurs set up garment factories, most of whom are still active here, accounting for around 5 percent of Bangladesh’s total export.”
He mentioned that Bangladesh and Korea have also been enjoying excellent cooperation in the international arena, including in the UN, and climate change and security, more than ever before.
UNB Editor-in-Chief and Chief Executive Enayetullah Khan, President of the Bangladesh Enterprise Institute Farooq Sobhan, icc,b President Mahbubur Rahman, Dr Hyun-Wook Kim of KNDA, Prof In Kyo Cheong of Inha University, Prof Yeri Yoo of Kyung Sang University and Dr Choongjae Cho of KIEP were also present.