Nepal-Bangladesh Relations

Overview
Nepal and the People’s Republic of Bangladesh enjoy excellent bilateral relations ever since the establishment of diplomatic relations on 08 April, 1972. The relations between the two countries are based on cordiality, goodwill, mutual understanding and cooperation. Nepal was the 7th country to extend recognition to Bangladesh by establishing diplomatic relations as early as 1972.

Political

The exchange of visits at various levels and on different occasions has strengthened the cordial relations between the two countries. Nepal and Bangladesh, being least developed countries, work closely on the issues of common interests in the bodies like UNCTAD, ECOSOC, WTO, and share similar views on various regional and international forums including SAARC, BIMSTEC and the United Nations.

A Memorandum of Understanding on the establishment of a Foreign Office Consultations mechanism at the Foreign Secretary level was signed in July 2012 in Dhaka. The mechanism reviews the entire gamut of bilateral relations between the two countries regularly and comprehensively. The second round of consultations was held in Dhaka in October 2017.

Economic

Nepal-Bangladesh commercial and economic relations are increasingly growing. There is tremendous potential for expanding and diversifying trade between the two countries. Nepal’s exports to Bangladesh constitute mainly yellow lentils, oil cakes, cardamom (large), wheat, vegetable seeds, handicrafts and pashminas. Imports from Bangladesh include industrial raw materials, chemicals, fabrics and textile, jute products, electric and electronic items.

Following the opening of Kakarbhitta-Phulbari-Banglabandha transit route in 1997, Bangladesh has permitted Nepal to use the port facilities in Mongla. Bangladesh has also provided additional rail transit corridor to Nepal via Rohonpur-Sighbad.

Nepal-Bangladesh Joint Economic Commission (JEC) was set up at the level of Finance Ministers in 1978.

The areas of cooperation have been joint venture sectors like banking, finance and insurance.  New initiatives are being undertaken in the field of readymade garments, leather goods, pharmaceuticals, and PVC pipes.

The third Commerce Secretary level meeting between Nepal and Bangladesh was held in Dhaka in May 2016. Similarly, the third Meeting of Nepal-Bangladesh Additional/Joint Secretary Level Technical Committee on Trade was held in Dhaka in January 2017.

Balance of Trade between Nepal and Bangladesh

Value in ‘000 NRs

Fiscal yearImports from BangladeshExports from NepalTrade Balance
2012 1,833,327 3,388,442-1,444,885
20131,806,2511,783,674-697,423
20142,369,9511,858,355-511,596
20152,399,769703,960-1,695,809
20165,014,0491,388,496-3,625,553

Source: Trade and Export Promotion Center, GON, 2016

Tourism

As per the air services agreement between the two countries, state owned airlines of Bangladesh- Biman Bangladesh as well as some private airlines has been operating flights in Dhaka-Kathmandu-Dhaka sector on a daily basis. This has contributed to Nepal’s tourism industry and also, enhanced people-to-people contacts between the two countries.

The number of Bangladeshi tourists arriving in Nepal has been increasing steadily in the past several years, as shown in the table below:

S/NYearTourist Arrival
1201117,563
2201216,764
3201322,410
4201421, 851
5201514, 831
6201623, 440

                                                Source: Nepal Tourism Statistics 2016

Education

The Government of Bangladesh offers seats to Nepali students in the fields of medicine and engineering every year. In addition, hundreds of Nepali students have been pursuing higher studies on self-finance basis largely in medical, dental science and engineering fields in various institutions of Bangladesh.

Post-earthquake assistance

The Government of Bangladesh provided a large amount of rice as humanitarian assistance in the immediate aftermath of April 2015 earthquake in Nepal. It also extended other supports including sending of an army medical team.

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