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Dinner speech by H.E. Mr. Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali, MP Hon’ble Foreign Minister of Bangladesh at the event on Celebration of 150th years of Canada Confederation by Canada- Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CanChem)

Dinner speech by H.E. Mr. Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali, MP
Hon’ble Foreign Minister of Bangladesh at the event on Celebration of 150th years of Canada Confederation by Canada- Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CanChem)
(Hotel Le Meriden, Dhaka, 27 April 2017 at 7:30pm)

H.E. Mr. Benoît-Pierre Laramée, High Commissioner of Canada,
Mr. Masud Rahman, President, CanChem Bangladesh
Excellencies and
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Assalamu Alaikum, Adab and good evening.

I am delighted to join you all this evening to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Canada Confederation. Let me begin by conveying our warmest felicitations to the Government and the friendly people of Canada on this very auspicious occasion. My particular thanks to Canada- Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CanCham) for organizing such a splendid event to mark this special day.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Our relationship with Canada dates back to 1971, during our Liberation War, when the then Canadian leadership and the friendly people of Canada stood by our people and extended their support to the just cause of Bangladesh. In this context, I recall with profound respect the invaluable contribution of late Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau to our War of Liberation. Bangladesh has since honoured her great friend when Hon’ble Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina handed over "Bangladesh Liberation War Honour” to the late leader's son and the present Prime Minister of Canada, the hon. Justin Trudeau at a ceremony in Montreal last year.

Canada is one of the first few countries to recognize Bangladesh immediately after our independence. Since then Canada has stood by us in our need as a trusted friend and dependable development partner.

Distinguished Guests,

Today, under the leadership of Bangabandhu’s daughter and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh has become a shining example of economic development in the world. Our Government is working towards achieving a ‘Digital Bangladesh’ where the people will have equitable access to resources and information. Our Government is moving ahead with determination to transform Bangladesh into a Middle Income Country by 2021 and a Developed Country by 2041. In this journey, we would like to see Canada as a close and reliable partner with enhanced assistance and cooperation in social, economic, infrastructure, technological and human resources development sectors.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Our bilateral trade has exceeded 2 billion US dollar mark last year. We, however, strongly feel that there are still huge untapped potentials in trade and investment between the two countries. Apart from the traditional trade items, we need to explore new items and exchange ideas for trade development. Today, in response to the directives of Hon’ble Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina our businessmen are exploring new items and areas and our export basket is being diversified. With a stable political environment and a highly positive economic outlook forecast by leading Market Analysts, we offer a conducive environment for trade and investment for our friends in Canada. Our growth forecast is more than 7% for the fiscal year ending in June, 2017.

To realize this potential, we should continue to encourage and foster greater interaction between our private sectors. Our respective Chamber bodies should work closely and exchange more visits to identify mutually beneficial ventures. Taking this opportunity, I urge our Canadian friends for more Canadian investment in Bangladesh and hope that CanCham will also play an enabling role in this regard. Canadian entrepreneurs may contribute to the economic growth of both the countries by investing in the 100 Special Economic Zones being established all over Bangladesh especially in power, energy, transportation, ICT, food and agro processing, light engineering, services and hospitality sectors.

Apart from the steady growth in bilateral trade, increased number of high level political interactions and wider people to people contacts, bear testimony to our time-tested relationship, which is on an upward trajectory in recent years. I myself paid a visit to Canada in October, 2016 following the visit of Hon’ble Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in September 2016 ahead of the 71st UNGA in New York. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has also accepted our invitation to visit Bangladesh which may take place at a mutually convenient date.

Canada is the torch-bearer for global peace and development. Present Canadian Government’s liberal views and policy on important global issues like migration, refugees, climate change and women empowerment are highly appreciated across the globe. Canada has consistently been supporting Bangladesh’s efforts towards sustainable economic growth, gender equality, establishment of rule of law, and particularly in creating opportunities for children and youth. We are inspired by Canadian role in addressing the climate change issues, particularly its pledge for Green Climate Fund (GCF). Current gender-balanced cabinet in Canada has been a true example of women empowerment for the rest of the world.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

CanCham Bangladesh has not only been acting as a bridge between the business communities of the two countries, it is also contributing in strengthening the people-to-people contacts between our two countries. I wish them continued success in their future endeavours.

I would like to conclude by wishing the people of Canada a very happy anniversary of the Canada Confederation.

I thank you all.

Joy Bangla! Joy Bangabandhu!

Long live Bangladesh-Canada Friendship.

Media Type: 
Publish Date: 
Thursday, April 27, 2017