Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Bangladesh Seeks to Be ASEAN's Sectoral Dialogue Partner

Jayanty Nada Shofa
September 7, 2023 | 1:31 pm
Bangladeshi President Mohammed Shahabuddin attends the 18th East Asia Summit in Jakarta on September 7, 2023. (Antara Photo/ASEAN Summit Media Center)
Bangladeshi President Mohammed Shahabuddin attends the 18th East Asia Summit in Jakarta on September 7, 2023. (Antara Photo/ASEAN Summit Media Center)

Jakarta. Bangladeshi President Mohammed Shahabuddin on Thursday told ASEAN leaders that it wanted to become the bloc's sectoral dialogue partner, saying that such status could open up ample trade opportunities for both sides.

Shahabuddin expressed Bangladesh’s plans when he was attending the 18th East Asia Summit as the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) chair. Before diving into IORA-related matters, Shahabuddin tried to convince ASEAN to grant a sectoral dialogue partnership status to Bangladesh.

“Bangladesh wishes to enhance its relations with ASEAN and institutionalize it by becoming ASEAN’s sectoral dialogue partner,” Shahabuddin said in the summit’s opening session.

According to Shahabuddin, Bangladesh seeks to engage with ASEAN in sectors such as trade, investment, transnational security issues, and climate change.


“If we get the sectoral dialogue partner status, there would be mutual benefits in many areas through increased economic cooperation, access to regional markets, etc.,” Shahabuddin told the forum.

A sectoral dialogue partner refers to countries that have established ties with at least two of the ASEAN sectoral bodies. A country can get the status if it meets several criteria. It must be a sovereign state or international organization that has friendly ties with the 10-member grouping across political, economic, and socio-cultural fronts. 

ASEAN today has eight sectoral dialogue partners: Brazil, Morocco, Norway, Pakistan, South Africa, Switzerland, Turkiye, and the United Arab Emirates.  Morocco was the latest to join after ASEAN approved its candidacy earlier this week.

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