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Canberra to provide economic support to Bangladesh for LDC graduation: Australian FM

Canberra to provide economic support to Bangladesh for LDC graduation: Australian FM

Diplomatic Correspondent

The visiting Australian foreign minister Penny Wong today said Canberra will provide additional financial support to Bangladesh in its graduate from the Least Developed Country (LDC) status to the middle income country.

"We will provide additional economic assistance to support your (Bangladesh) economic reforms to support you graduation from least developing country status," she told reporters after a bilateral meeting with foreign minister Dr Hasan Mahmud at the stare guest house Padma this afternoon.

Her government, she said, would provide additional funding to AUS Trade and it would deliver deeper economic engagement.

The Australian goverment will provide additional funds to help Bangladesh align its labour laws with requirements and aspirations following graduation, she said.

The Australian foreign minister said Canberra will also provide additional funding to technical education training colleges of Bangladesh.

"We are very keen to deepen our cooperation, strengthen our cooperation with the Bangladesh government in this are particularly between our coast-guards," she said.

The Australian foreign minister said her country is keen to work with Bangladesh and other friendly countries to ensure a peaceful, stable and prosperous indo-pacific region.

"We share a region, we share an ocean and we share future and we are determined to do all that we can to work with you and other partners to ensure the region that is peaceful, stable and prosperous," she said.

The Australian foreign minister said the region has shared challenges and it cannot be dealt with by a single country. "It requires partnership and collaboration," she added.

Terming Rohingya crisis as the largest humanitarian crisis in our region, Wong said she discussed with Bangladesh foreign minister the regional challenges posed by the conflict in Myanmar.

The Australian foreign minister also lauded Bangladesh's initiatives on the climate front and vowed to work together in that area.

Foreign Minister Hasan said they talked about more Australian investment in Bangladesh, cooperation for skill development with more Australian assistance.

"We have talked about human trafficking and we have agreed to work together. We have talked about climate challenges as Bangladesh is an innocent victim of climate change," he said.

Noting that this is the first visit by any Australian foreign minister in the last 26 years, Hasan said Dhaka and Canberra have a very good relationship.

He said the two-way trade now stands at around $4bn, reflecting Bangladesh's significant economic growth. "This is quite impressive. The trade volume was much smaller in size ten years ago," he said.

Hasan said the Australian foreign minister assured him of continuing the duty-free and quota-free market access to Australia.

Earlier, she had separate meetings with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Foreign Minister Hasan Mahmud at Gonobhaban and state guesthouse Padma respectively.

The Australian FM, who arrived in Dhaka this morning on a two-day official visit, will travel to Cox's Bazar on Wednesday morning to see the situation at Rohingya camps.

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