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Prime Minister of Bangladesh visits the Netherlands

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By Roy Lie A Tjam.

The Hon. Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina visited the Netherlands from 3-5 November 2015 at the invitation of His Excellency Mr. Mark Rutte, Prime Minister of the Netherlands.

The Prime Minister of Bangladesh was accompanied by a high profile business delegation. The business delegates came from sectors such as textiles and garments, pharmaceuticals, ICT, shipping, energy, jute, agro processing, hospitality, and logistics. A contingent from the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industries, Bangladesh (FBCCI) also travelled with the Prime Minister.


H.E. Sheikh Mohammed Belal, Ambassador of Bangladesh in the Netherlands, organized a business seminar on 5 November 2015 at Hotel Kurhaus in The Hague. The seminar was attended by CEOs and other high officials of business enterprises of the Netherlands. It showcased investment and business opportunities in Bangladesh. The opening remarks were by the moderator Mr. Md.Shahidul Haque Foreign Secretary of Bangladesh. The Hon. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina delivered the keynote address followed by a Q&A session.

The Prime Minister of Bangladesh commenced her address by referring to the fact that the Netherlands was one of the first nations to recognize Bangladesh on 1st February 1972. The two countries have had trade relations, as early as 1602, with the trading of spices by the East Indian Company. Bangladesh is the most liberal country of South-East Asia she declared.

The readymade garment (RMG) industry makes Bangladesh the second largest exporter of RMG in the world. This is 1% of the global market. What is also needed is for the rivers to be deepened to hold more water and land reclamation is a high necessity. Investing in the shipbuilding sector is lucrative and the industry is partly government owned. Energy renewal by the introduction of more solar panels is envisaged. Prime Minister Hasina suggested that land under the solar panels could be utilized for the cultivation of crops.


Education, schools and housing are of paramount importance. Prime Minister Hasina urged Dutch business leaders to become Bangladesh’s partner in boosting investment and trade between the two nations. Furthermore, she hoped Bangladesh would eradicate poverty and become a middle-income nation by 2021 and a developed one by 2041. The Prime Minister’s slogan is, “Digital Bangladesh, come and explore”.

Other speakers at the seminar were:

Mr. Md.Shafiul Islam, leader of FBCCI, Mr. Abdul Kalam Azad, Principal Secretary to the Hon. Prime Minister, Dr.Cees Veerman former Dutch Agriculture Minister, Mr. Maarten Verbruggen and H.E. Leoni Cuelenaere, Dutch Ambassador in Bangladesh.

“Bangladesh is making headway in all areas and nothing can stop it “

On 4 November Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Prime Minister Rutte had discussions on bilateral and global issues of mutual interest, including investment, trade, private sector development, agriculture, port development, and rule of law.

The two Prime Ministers acknowledged that both Bangladesh and the Netherlands are countries of deltaic nature and there exists immense scope of cooperation between the two countries in the areas of delta management, water resources management and other related areas. In that context, the two Prime Ministers expressed satisfaction at the signing of the MoU “Towards Resilient and Sustainable Delta Management for a prosperous Bangladesh” and a “Letter of Intent on Cooperation in the field of Land Reclamation and Accretion in Bangladesh” between the two countries in June 2015.


Bangladesh Prime Minister lauded the expertise of the Netherlands in delta management and thanked the Dutch Prime Minister for their support in the development of Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100. The Bangladesh Prime Minister underscored the importance of an effective partnership arrangement with the Government of the Netherlands under Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100 for long term capacity building through education and training.

The Prime Minister of the Netherlands assured of extending all cooperation to Bangladesh for implementation of Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100 to make the delta safe and productive for the people. The two prime ministers agreed to work together to make densely populated delta areas across the world safer and economically more viable in the framework of the Delta Coalition.

A joint statement later said Bangladesh and the Netherlands had agreed to work together to ensure national security and implement the Delta Plan 2100 to boost investment and bilateral trade.

Prime Minister Hasina also called H.M.Queen Maxima as United Nations Secretary General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development. The Queen praised Bangladesh for its economic progress. Her Majesty is to visit Bangladesh in November of this year.

Prime Minister Hasina later attended a banquet hosted by Premier Minister Her program further included a visited the Delta region, she also visited Koornstra & Co and Tomato world, which deal in fruits and vegetables.

The Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Lilianne Ploumen and Minister of Infrastructure and Environment Melanie Schultz van Haegen, also met Prime Minister Hasina.

Prime Minster Hasina also attended a reception hosted by Bangladeshi diaspora. She expressed her appreciation of her compatriots, who had contributed much to the development of Bangladesh.

The two Prime Ministers welcomed the signing of the following bilateral instruments:

  • Memorandum of Understanding on Foreign Office Consultations Between The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands And The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh;
  • Letter of Intent (LOI) between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh on Training Cooperation for Junior Diplomats from Bangladesh;
  • Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) between Saxion University of Applied Sciences, School of Creative Technology and BGMEA University of Fashion & Technology; and
  • Bilateral Cooperation Agreement / Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Saxion University of Applied Sciences and BGMEA University of Fashion & Technology.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina extended an invitation to Prime Minister Mark Rutte to pay a visit to Bangladesh at a mutually convenient time. Prime Minister Mark Rutte expressed his appreciation for the invitation.

Back home in Bangladesh, the Prime Minister described her official visit to the Netherlands as a boost to bilateral ties with a good friend who had stood by Bangladesh in her hour of need.





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