Economic cooperation needed among countries in South and Southeast Asia: PM tells Korean envoy

Dhaka Prokash UNB

16 May 2023, 04:46 pm | Updated: 30 May 2023, 02:59 pm

Economic cooperation needed among countries in South and Southeast Asia: PM tells Korean envoy
Photo: collected

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday (May 16, 2023) called for economic cooperation among the countries in South and Southeast Asia for mutual benefits of the people in the regions. 

The prime minister said this while outgoing Ambassador of Republic of Korea, Lee Jang-keun, called on her at her official residence Ganabhaban.

PM’s press secretary Ihsanul Karim briefed reporters after the meeting.

He said that PM Hasina admired South Korea’s success in transforming into a developed country within a generation.

She mentioned that this success inspired Bangladesh in its endeavour to steer the nation towards development and prosperity.

The PM recalled her two visits to South Korea, saying that during the second visit she witnessed the amazing development there.

While highly appreciating the socio-economic development of Bangladesh under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the outgoing ambassador expressed deep appreciation for extensive cooperation and hospitality demonstrated by the PM and Bangladeshis during his tenure in Bangladesh.

Ambassador Lee shared with the Prime Minister recent milestone development in relations between Korea and Bangladesh in multiple areas such as trade, official development assistance, expatriate workers and investment in the year of 50th anniversary of South Korea-Bangladesh diplomatic ties in 2023, the South Korean Embassy in Dhaka said.

Ambassador Lee explained that the trade between South Korea and Bangladesh crossed the $3 billion mark in 2022 and $2 billion in 2021 for the first time, which was stagnant at around $1.5-1.8 billion over a decade before the Covid-19 pandemic.

He elaborated that the South Korean government decided to provide Bangladesh government with $3 billion under the EDCF (Economic Development Cooperation Fund), soft loan program, in the period of 2023 and 2027. 

South Korea’s previous commitment stood at $500 million for 3 years when Ambassador Lee arrived in Bangladesh in June 2020.

Expatriate workers are the other sector where meaningful development happened over one-two years, Ambassador Lee said.

While only around 1,500 Bangladeshi workers were dispatched to South Korea under Employment Permit System (EPS) until 2021, the number increased significantly to 5,891 in 2022 and Korean government plans to receive 10,000 Bangladeshi expatriate workers this year.

He also added, Korea became the largest foreign direct investor to Bangladesh in the year of 2022 with a gross volume of 662 million dollars.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina congratulated the ambassador for successful completion of his tenure in Bangladesh and thanked him for his efforts to further boost South Korea-Bangladesh relations.

She also wished for continuous cooperation with South Korea in the course of the socio-economic development of Bangladesh.

Prime Minister’s Ambassador-at-Large Mohammad Ziauddin and PM’s Principal Secretary Mohammad Tofazzel Hossain Miah were present at the meeting.

Category : National