Report by Humayun Kabir from Portugal, Bangladesh State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam, paid a call on the Portuguese Minister of Economy and Sea Dr. Antonio Costa Silva on 26th May 2022. during his ongoing visit to Portugal. In an extensive conversation, the State Minister briefed the Portuguese Minister on Bangladesh’s rapid rise in economic and social sectors in recent times. The Economic Minister acknowledged Bangladesh’s dynamic development in recent years in response and attributed this success to the existing political stability under the leadership of the current Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, its remarkable economic growth, and continued regional cooperation in its neighborhood.
Recognizing that there remains considerable potential for cooperation between the countries, he reiterated that Portugal stands ready to expand collaboration in the diverse areas spanning renewable energy, green transition, marine technology, ocean economy, and so on. Bangladesh State Minister agreed to advance cooperation in these areas and sought Portugal’s support for regional hydropower.
The Minister acknowledged that both Bangladesh and Portugal being coastal countries, face common existential threats from climate change and rising sea levels, which makes it necessary to foster further climate cooperation.
In response, Bangladesh State Minister apprised him of Bangladesh’s leading role in Indian Ocean Rim Association and the International Seabed Authority and agreed to take forward the Bangladesh-Portugal partnership in this regard. He also called for enhanced knowledge sharing and partnership in the areas of oceanography and maritime affairs.
The State Minister asked for the Minister’s attention to the difficulties experienced by the Bangladeshi visa applicants due to the mandatory requirement for physical presence in the Portuguese embassy in New Delhi and requested his intervention in simplifying the process by allowing a service provider to operate in Bangladesh.
The Minister acknowledged the importance of a simplified visa procedure to facilitate potential investors and business people of the two countries and agreed to look further into this matter. On the trade and investment front, the Portuguese Minister expressed his desire to continue the ongoing cooperation in finalizing the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement and suggested elaboration of an investment protection agreement. To consolidate the existing partnership at the multilateral level, the Minister invited Bangladesh to participate in the upcoming 2nd UN Ocean Conference to be held from 27th June to 1st July in Portugal. The State Minister confirmed the participation of a High-level Bangladesh delegation in the said conference.
The Portuguese Minister recalled his past visit to Bangladesh fifteen years back and expressed his desire to visit Bangladesh soon to experience the positive transition that has shaped Bangladesh now. The State Minister conveyed that he would be warmly welcomed in Bangladesh upon his arrival.
The State Minister was accompanied by Bangladesh Ambassador to Lisbon Mr. Tarik Ahsan and other officials. Earlier in the day, Bangladesh State Minister visited Bangladesh Chancery and addressed the Bangladesh Embassy team, followed by paying tribute to the local Shaheed Minar.