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Bangladesh, Cambodia table idea of free trade deal to boost rice export

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Prime Minister Hun Sen meets with his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina on the sidelines of the 77th UN General Assembly in the US' New York City on September 23. SPM

Bangladesh, Cambodia table idea of free trade deal to boost rice export

Prime Minister Hun Sen has invited Bangladeshi companies to invest in rice processing warehouses and rice mills in Cambodia for export to Bangladesh, while also encouraging the South Asian country to increase imports of the Kingdom's rice.

The premier met with Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on September 23 on the sidelines of the 77th UN General Assembly (UNGA) in the US' New York City.

Hun Sen said that Bangladesh has imported about 200,000 tonnes of rice from Cambodia.

“What I suggested during our discussion is to increase rice exports from Cambodia to Bangladesh. I also invited Bangladeshi companies to invest in rice processing warehouses and rice mills – for export to Bangladesh,” he said, in a social media post.

According to the post, Hasina has asked the private sector of Bangladesh to invest in Cambodia in the agricultural sector, especially in rice production and processing. She told Hun Sen that Bangladesh has a large population but has a small land mass, which is not favourable to farming due to flooding risks, hence the need to buy rice from other countries.

“We can find agreement with each other, and have worked together to be able to develop and strengthen mutual trade,” the post quoted Sheikh Hasina as saying.

She intended to push for a free trade agreement between the two countries to boost exports and increase opportunities.

Hun Sen agreed that it is necessary to start negotiations on a free market agreement to boost trade growth between the two countries.

“We already have free market agreements with China and South Korea. Through this potential agreement, we could increase the trade volume of our two countries. It is also an opportunity for Bangladesh to develop and strengthen relations with ASEAN,” he added.

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