Chittagong, Bangladesh: The sixth meeting of Bangladesh-Burma Joint Commission for economic cooperation begins in Dhaka on Sunday, aiming to establish better connectivity and boost bilateral trade between the two next-door neighbors, said a businessman.
Deputy Minister for Commerce Dr Pwint San will lead the Burma’s side while Bangladesh Commerce Secretary Mahbub Ahmed the Bangladesh side to the meeting to be held at Hotel Purbani in the Dhaka, an official said at the Commerce Ministry.
Official also said the meeting, set to start at 10am, will focus on enhancing economic cooperation and establishing regional connectivity. Direct air and shipping links between the two countries, and cooperation in energy and agriculture sectors are likely to dominate at the meeting.
According to different sources, the Burma delegation will later hold talks with Commerce Minister GM Quader at his Secretariat office at 4pm.
Earlier, Bangladesh sent a draft memorandum of understanding (MoU) to Burma on air connectivity and some other issues for their approval.
The fifth meeting of Bangladesh-Burma Joint Commission for economic cooperation was held in Naypyidaw in July last year.
Business leaders said that they have long been demanding stronger connectivity with Burma as they think the high potentials of bilateral trade with neighboring Burma have apparently remained untapped for four major hurdles — lack of air, water and road connectivity, and required formal trade channel.
“The land port of Teknaf will harm if border trade will start in Chittagong from water way, the labors lose their jobs in the land port, the businessman from Teknaf also will lose their business,” said Anwar, a businessman from Teknaf.
“After ethnic cleansing in Arakan State, there is no border trade business here, only a few from Arakan. If it goes to Chittagong which will connect from Rangoon not from Arakan State, big company will enter into border trade business and small businessman will lost their business.”