Cambodia, Bangladesh mark fifty years of friendly ties
By: Pathik Hasan
June 06, 2022 marked the fifty years of bilateral ties between Cambodia and Bangladesh. Cambodia established friendly relations with Bangladesh on June 06, 1972. The bilateral relations were established in 1972 through the late King Sihanouk of Cambodia and Bangabandhu Sheikh MujiburRahman of Bangladesh. But full-fledged formal diplomatic relations between the two countries were established in 1993. Over the past three decades, relations between the two countries have deepened and both countries have been cooperating with each other in bilateral and multilateral arrangements.
Bangladesh and Cambodia cooperate in various sectors. In 2014, the two countries signed an agreement to establish a joint commission to explore new areas of cooperation and strengthen the existing cooperation in various sectors.
Bilateral trade between Bangladesh and Cambodia was only $5.57 million in 2016, of which Bangladesh’s export was $5 million and import was $0.57 million. Cambodia’s exports to Bangladesh have seen a steady increase in the past five years except 2016.
Bangladesh and Cambodia cooperate in various fields. in 2010, the two countries agreed to set up a joint commission for bilateral cooperation between the foreign ministries. In 2013, they signed a visa waiver agreement for holders of diplomatic passports. Bangladesh has expressed interest in hiring Cambodian human resource development teachers. In 2014, a joint commission was set up to explore new areas of cooperation between the two countries. An agreement was signed to strengthen existing cooperation. In 2014, an agreement on cultural cooperation was signed between Bangladesh and Cambodia. The signed 10 deals in 2017 are expected to enhance bilateral ties and strengthen economic cooperation between the two developing countries.
Bangladesh has proposed a long-term land cultivation agreement for farms in Cambodia by Bangladeshi nationals. Bangladesh is keen to sign a long-term rice import agreement with Cambodia. Bangladesh Cambodian students have been awarded scholarships by Bangladesh Agricultural University. The two countries jointly conduct agricultural research. In 2014, Bangladesh and Cambodia signed an agreement for scientific and technological cooperation in the agricultural sector.
At the same time, Bangladesh-Cambodia has started work to expand bilateral trade, increase investment, and develop the apparel. agricultural and tourism industries.
Cambodia and Bangladesh have committed to strengthening labour agreements between the two countries to manage the migration of workers, share labour recruitment information and combat labour exploitation.
According to a Cambodian media reports, the commitment was made between labour minister IthSamheng and Mohammed Abdul Hye, the Bangladeshi ambassador with residence in Thailand, on May 31.
Samheng said Cambodia and Bangladesh have had a memorandum of understanding (MoU) which covers the labour and vocational training sector in place since 2017. A working group had worked closely in the spirit of the MoU until their progress was interrupted two years ago by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The labour markets in the two countries are similar. Both countries produce and export garments, so both sides can share experiences and exchange information on the labour and vocational training sector,” Samheng was quoted as saying.
The minister told the ambassador that there are currently about 400 Bangladeshi nationals who hold work permits in Cambodia. They have a healthcare programme, as well as occupational risk coverage by the National Social Security Fund (NSSF), just as Cambodian nationals do.
He said that although working conditions in Cambodia are linked to its exports – a correlation that could play into the hands of investors – the Kingdom’s rising wages, while a boon to the livelihoods of workers, present a conundrum for employers.
Samheng praised Bangladesh for their technical training and their progress on agricultural techniques, another area in which he had requested Bangladeshi help.
According to the ministry, the ambassador expressed his appreciation for Cambodia’s cooperation in the labour and training field, as the two nations renewed their MoU.
He said that during his visit to Cambodia, he had met Bangladeshi nationals who worked in many different areas, including service, construction, hospitality and banking. They had all received strong support from the Cambodian government, which allowed them to open businesses.
Cambodia signed the labour-related MoU with Bangladesh on December 4, 2017. The MoU is effective for five years.
This time the government is working to get duty free market facility for the export of these products. Cambodia is becoming increasingly important in increasing regional trade. As a result of various official initiatives, Bangladesh’s trade relations with that country will be further strengthened. The government is playing an important role in increasing trade and investment by maintaining friendly relations between Bangladesh and Cambodia.
According to Commerce Ministry of Bangladesh, In the last fiscal year, Bangladesh exported goods worth $5.39 million to Cambodia and imported $0.4 million worth of goods. The government of Bangladesh is thinking of increasing it further. Apart from this, the government is also thinking of providing various facilities to bring investment to Cambodia.
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen visited Bangladesh in 2014 and sent congratulatory messages to Bangladesh on March, 2021 to mark the birth centenary of Its Founder Father Bangabandhu Sheikh MujiburRahman and Golden Jubilee of Bangladesh’s Independence. He met with Premier Sheikh Hasina in 2017. Bangladesh Prime minister Sheikh Hasina visited Cambodia in 2017. This type of Visits accelerated the ties between the two countries. 10 MoUs were signed during her visit to Cambodia in 2014 to boost up economic, cultural ties. Bangladesh and Cambodia have signed 10 instruments, including nine memorandums of understanding (MoUs), to boost trade and investment between the two countries. The instruments were signed with the aim of enhancing cooperation in various fields like tourism, agriculture, civil aviation, ICT and technical education.
Even, Prime Minister of Cambodia Hun Sen praised the digital transformation of Bangladesh under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and emphasized on increasing trade and expanding the scope of business between the two countries. He lauded the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in tackling the Covid-19 epidemic. He expressed interest in increasing bilateral trade.
The Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina is very keen to strengthen ties with the South East Asian State. Bangladesh and Cambodia should take effective steps to strengthen bilateral relations to connect the South East Asia with South Asia. Both states should strengthen their business interest for serving the mutual benefit.