Hon’ble Economic Affairs Adviser to the Hon’ble Prime Minister Dr. Moshiur Rahman,
Ladies and Gentlemen
Assalamu Alaikum and Good Morning
It is a matter of great pleasure and honour for me to be present at the inaugural ceremony of this conclave on ‘Canada-Bangladesh Diplomatic Relations’ marking 45th year of our bilateral relationship.
I thank the Canadian High Commission in Dhaka as well as IPAG for organizing this event which I believe would provide new ideas and thoughts to generate further momentum in our bilateral relationship.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Canada, geographically being a far away country, has always been close to our hearts. We share commonalities in our aspirations, emotions and values. We also have similar understanding on global, social and economic issues like gender equality and women empowerment, climate change, migration and refugees, democracy and human dignity. Beyond the institutional relationship between the two governments, our people to people contact has also been growing strongly.
Canada is one of the first few countries to recognize Bangladesh immediately after our independence. We deeply value the trust and the conviction which was placed upon us by the government and the friendly people of Canada at that time.
On this auspicious occasion, I recall with deep respect and gratitude the unwavering support extended by the late Canadian Prime Minister Hon’ble Pierre Elliott Trudeau , his government, and the people of Canada for the just cause of Bangladesh during our War of Liberation. It was a matter of great satisfaction for us to be able to honour him with the ‘Bangladesh Liberation War Honor’ posthumously last year for his invaluable contribution in 1971.
After our independence, as a great friend in need, Canada extended necessary assistance to rebuild this war torn country. From then on, Canada was robustly involved in our socio-economic development. Over the years, Canada has become our trusted and dependable development partner encouraging inclusive economic growth in the country focusing on development of children and youth.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Bangladesh is now a glaring example of economic development in the world. We have recently graduated from the World Bank’s low-income to lower-middle income category. Under the leadership of our Hon’ble Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh has been maintaining GDP growth well above 6 percent for the last seven years and for the first time; our economy has registered growth over 7 percent in 2015-16. Hon’ble Prime Minister is targeting to transform the country into a middle-income developing nation by 2021 and a developed one by 2041.
In order to sustain this momentum of development, we would like to invite Canadian entrepreneurs to take advantage of the liberal investment-friendly atmosphere of Bangladesh. Their investment in the Special Economic Zones of Bangladesh in the areas of power, energy and transportation sectors, food and agro processing, IT and telecommunications, light engineering, shipbuilding, services and hospitality sectors will contribute to the economic development of both the countries. I will also urge our 100,000 (one hundred thousand) Bangladesh-origin Canadians to participate more in the economic development of Bangladesh by investing here and act as a bridge in further strengthening our bilateral relationship.
We are thankful to the Government of Canada for providing us duty-free quota-free access to its market. This privilege indeed has a positive impact on our bilateral trade, which has significantly increased in recent years and it is over two billion US Dollar now. I believe, enhanced business to business connection, enhanced people to people contact will further increase our bilateral trade volume.
As you are aware, our Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman visited Canada in 1973. After so many decades, visit of our Hon’ble Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to Montreal in October 2016 at the invitation of Canadian Premier generated a new thrust in our bilateral relationship. Now we are discussing wider areas of possible cooperation ranging from education, culture, civil aviation, visa policy to counter terrorism and so on. We are also deeply engaged with the Canadian government with regards to the repatriation of Nur Chowdhury, the self-confessed and convicted killer of the Father of the Nation. His repatriation would end the culture of impunity in which we both the nations believe in and it would be a major breakthrough in our bilateral relationship.
Ladies and Gentlemen
With these words of optimism, I conclude here. I wish today’s conclave all success. I believe the outcome of today’s event will contribute significantly for taking our relations to a much elevated level in the coming days.
I thank you all.
Long Live Bangladesh
Long live Bangladesh-Canada friendship.