British High Commissioner Robert Chatterton Dickson has met officials and business leaders in Chattogram and discussed strengthening the UK-Bangladesh bilateral relationship and the scope for greater cooperation on “prosperity and opportunities” for increasing UK trade as well as issues of economic and social development.
He ended his two-day visit on Tuesday, the High Commission said on Wednesday.
Concluding his visit, Dickson said: “It’s been great to be here in Chattogram talking to partners about our strong existing links and the potential to do even more, including in the fields of business and commerce, development, security and defence. The UK has played a part in the growth and development of Chattogram for more than 200 years and those deep connections give us a terrific basis for strengthening these relationships with an increasingly prosperous Bangladesh.”
He visited the PHP Ship Breaking and Recycling Yard, the only yard in Bangladesh compliant with the Hong Kong International Convention on ship recycling, to gain an insight into the industry and how it could progress towards the safe and environmentally sound recycling of ships.
The High Commissioner met the CEO of HSBC-Bangladesh, Mambub ur Rahman, and other senior HSBC staff and major clients to hear about HSBC’s significant investment in the second largest city in Bangladesh.
Later, he called on the Rear Admiral Md. Abul Kalam Azad, Chairman of Chittagong Port Authority (CPA) and Commodore Sumon Mahmud Sabbir, the Managing Director of Bangladesh Shipping Corporation (BSC).
The High Commissioner met the Commodore AK M Afzal Hossain, Commandant of the Naval Academy, to hear how the Navy were preparing staff for the changing naval security posture in the region.
He also toured the BNS Bangabandu, the Bangladesh Navy flagship, and met the Commanding Officer Captain Tanzim Faruq to learn about its maritime operations and the equipment needed to ensure its future defence capability.
The High Commissioner also met with the Administrator of Chattogram City Corporation Md. Khurshid Alam Shujon and discussed the UK’s collaboration with the City Corporation and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to lift up urban poor from extreme poverty and improve their lives by implementing a range of activities including community mobilization, raising awareness on COVID-19, livelihood and nutrition grant support —benefiting up to 435,000 people currently living in Chattogram City Corporation.
The High Commissioner also had a meeting with Divisional Commissioner ABM Azad and discussed regional prosperity and security issues.
During the visit, the High Commissioner visited the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery and paid his respects to Commonwealth soldiers and others who sacrificed their lives in World War II. He also thanked employees of the Cemetery while paying the visit.
The UK is Bangladesh’s third single largest export partner; the import figure stands at £3.3 billion for 2019. The UK is also the second largest cumulative investor in Bangladesh with £1.9 billion of investments.
This year the UK’s Export Credit Agency, UK Export Finance (UKEF), more than tripled its capacity for Bangladesh to £2.5 billion.
The UK takes a liberal approach to trade, recognising that many developing countries want to trade their way to greater prosperity. As a result, imports from Bangladesh will not face any tariffs.
The UK, the second largest donor to the international response to the Rohingya refugee crisis, is providing life-sustaining humanitarian aid to almost one million Rohingya refugees and vulnerable host communities in Cox’s Bazar.
Since the last refugee influx in 2017, the UK has contributed almost £300 million. The UK is the third largest bilateral donor overall in Bangladesh, providing more than £350 million in aid since 2018.