Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen on Friday called upon the member states for greater commitment to implement the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) of BIMSTEC as early as possible.

He urged this while addressing the Nineteenth BIMSTEC Ministerial Meeting (MM) held virtually in Bangkok, Thailand.

Delegations from all member states of BIMSTEC joined the meeting.

In his deliberation, Momen reiterated Bangladesh’s commitment to the BIMSTEC process and emphasised that BIMSTEC member states need to work together to realise the huge untapped potential of the region.

As the lead country for cooperation in the trade, investment and development sectors, Momen outlined Bangladesh’s effort to enhance investment and trade relations across the platform and expressed Bangladesh’s keen interest in finalising the legal instruments for the BIMSTEC FTA.

The meeting assessed the progress made so far since the Fifth BIMSTEC Summit held on 30 March last year including the implementation of various decisions taken during the summit.

The meeting approved the ‘Rules of Procedure’ for all the BIMSTEC mechanisms, including several administrative and financial matters of the BIMSTEC secretariat for adoption at the Sixth BIMSTEC Summit proposed to be held later this year.

The meeting approved the draft text of the ‘Agreement on Maritime Transport Cooperation’ as well as the ‘BIMSTEC Bangkok Vision 2030’.

The inclusion of blue economy, mountain economy and poverty alleviation under the purview of the reconstituted sectors/subsectors of BIMSTEC cooperation was approved by the meeting.

The cooperation in the Blue Economy will be led by Bangladesh.

At the conclusion of the meeting, the heads of delegations issued a joint statement, elaborating actions to be taken in different areas of cooperation to promote active collaborations in matters of mutual interests in the economic, social, technical, cultural and scientific fields to build a prosperous, resilient and result oriented BIMSTEC.

The meeting discussed the tentative schedule of the Sixth BIMSTEC Summit to be held in November 2023 in Bangkok, Thailand, in which, Bangladesh is supposed to assume the chairmanship of BIMSTEC.