Dhaka, Thimphu trade to go up to $100m, hopes Bhutanese PM
Visiting Bhutanese Prime Minister Jigmi Y Thinley hoped that bilateral trade could go up to US $ 100 million from current US$ 30 million in the next few years.
In an interview with the news agency at his Sonargaon Hotel suit on Tuesday night Thinley said, “We both the sides see the possibilities of very rapid expansion of bilateral trade going up to US $ 100 million within next few years,”
“We are also looking at trade in services.”
Thinley said Bhutan can also take advantage of Bangladesh’s human resources-professionals, skilled and semi-skilled people to develop their infrastructure, industries and information technology.
Asked how many doctors Bhutan is planning to recruit from Bangladesh, he said it would be nice if 25-30 doctors could be recruited on yearly basis for the next three years. Some of these doctors will be highly specialised and some general doctors with 5 years’ experience.
Asked whether the theory of Gross National Happiness (GNH) can be applicable for Bangladesh as well, Thinley said many of the programmes of the Bangladesh government are creating conditions for pursuit of happiness and enabling people to be happy.
BSS Adds: The Bhutanese premier said the geographic features that made his country landlocked would not obstruct Thimphu’s connectivity or cooperation particularly in energy sector with Bangladesh.
He told the state-run news agency in the interview with the private news agency.
Thinley, who earlier assured Hasina of extending cooperation in the hydropower sector, said his country expected to reach a deal “as soon as possible” on energy cooperation but right this moment it was “over capacitated” with its pledges to India in exporting electricity.
Asked about the trade or business relations, he said the two sides already have identified many tradable goods, as “there are so many complementary items.
“For instances, I can tell you Bangladesh can export vegetables to Bhutan during winter months (when extreme cold hampers production in Bhutan) while we can export vegetables to your country in summer months,” he said.
The Bhutanese premier also suggested the tour operators of the two countries to attract western tourists to visit the mountainous kingdom and Bangladesh under a single trip.
Thinley called Bangladesh’s offer to Thimphu in using its port facilities as a gesture of “largeness of heart and sympathy” for the landlocked “smaller neighbour” like Bhutan and said “it would be extremely useful” for his country.
“We will be sending a team of experts to study how best Bhutan can avail the facilities immediately and in future,” he said.
He also stressed exploring more trade routes between the two countries beyond the existing only route through Fulpur frontier.