Bilateral Relations

Bilateral Relations of Bangladesh and the Philippines

 

The Philippines was among the first countries that recognized the war torn Bangladesh in February 1972. The Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman stopped over in Manila, in 1973, on his way back to Dhaka from Tokyo to express his gratitude to the friendly people of the Philippines for their spontaneous response in recognizing Bangladesh. Former President HM Ershad paid a state visit to the Philippines during 9-12 October 1989. Former President Fidel V. Ramos visited Bangladesh during 5-7 March 1997 and Hon’ble Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina  visited  the Republic of the Philippines the same year in September  on the invitation of the Late President Corazon Aquino, mother of the Present President H.E. Benigno S. Aquino-III and since then the two became good friends. PM Hasina had again visited Manila in 2005 as personal guest of late President Corazon Aquino.

Bangladesh and the Philippines have left behind more than three decades of friendly bilateral diplomatic relations and have touched the milestone of the 32nd anniversary of diplomatic relations in January 2014. Bangladesh attaches great importance to its relations with the Philippines. The excellent bilateral relations between the two countries is steadily growing both in depth and dimension. Till date twelve Agreements/MOUs have been signed between the two countries and the most recent agreement signed was Agreement on waiver of visa for Diplomatic and Official passport holders on 06 March 2014 in the Philippines. MOU on Sports Cooperation and MOU on Foreign Policy Consultation are ready to be signed in a convenient date by both parties. The Agreements/MOUs so far signed by both countries are as follows: 

SL. No

Name of Treaty/Agreement/ Protocol/MOU etc.

Date of Signing

  01.

Trade Agreement signed in Manila/

Amended Trade Agreement

26 May, 1980/

1997

  02.

Cultural Agreement signed in Manila

26 May, 1980

  03.

Agreement on Merchant Shipping signed in Manila

10 Oct, 1989

  04.

Agreement on Economic & Technical Cooperation signed in Manila

10 Oct. 1989

  05.

Agreement on cooperation between Chamber of Commerce & Industries between the two countries

15 Dec. 1989

  06.

Memorandum of Inter-Parliamentary Cooperation

18 February 1995

  07.

MOU for promotion & reciprocal Protection of investment signed in Manila

08 July 1997

  08.

Air Services Agreement signed in Manila

08 Sept. 1997

  09.

Convention for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and Preservation of Fiscal Evasion signed in Manila

08 Sept 1997

  10.

MOU between FBCCI of Bangladesh and PCCI of the Philippines

23 October 2008

  11.

Cultural Exchange Programme for 2012-2 017

13 May 2013

  12.

Agreement on Waiver of visa requirement for diplomatic/ official passport holders

06 March 2014

List of Agreements/MOUs in Process : 

Sl No.

Type of Agreement

Status

01.

MOU on Sports Cooperation

Ready for signing

02.

MOU on Foreign Policy Consultation

Ready for signing

 

Trade volume between Bangladesh and the Philippines is increasing in the recent years. However, trade relations between the two friendly countries can be more fruitful and faster by further cooperation and full implementation of the trade agreements signed in the past between the two countries. Volume of trade during 2011-2012 between Bangladesh and the Philippines is around US$ 50   million. Where import payments by Bangladesh amounting to US$ 41 million and export receipts is around US$ 9 million. Major exports from Bangladesh to the Philippines are fertilizers, tobacco, iron and steel, garments consumer products etc. The Philippines export mainly scrap metals, including waste steel and iron, instant noodles etc. Source:Bangladesh Bank

Private sector collaborations can play a pivotal role in augmenting bilateral trade between the two countries. More frequent exchange of visits between the business leaders of Bangladesh and the Philippines can pave the way for strengthening business relations in terms of volume of trade in the coming years. Filipino investors can invest in Bangladesh especially in textiles, jute and jute products, deep sea fishing and ICT sectors.  Bangladesh has good number of talented hardworking, technologically proficient human resources and friendly environment for foreign investors.

Bangladesh has been emerging as a leading producer and exporter of pharmaceutical products in Asia. Our medicines are being exported to more than 70 countries all across the globe. The Bangladesh Pharmaceutical Expo, first of its kind by any country in the Philippines, was held in Manila in June 2010. Bangladesh can export pharmaceutical products to the Philippines, especially to the government hospitals and clinics at competitive prices, which can bring down the prices of medicines in the Filipino market. Initiative in this sector will significantly help the mass people in the Philippines in availing of better health care services.

Bangladesh immensely benefits from various training/educational programs under TESDA, IRRI, ADB and other NGO Forums in the Philippines. Bangladesh has a large pool of educated and easily trainable energetic workforce. The Philippines may consider recruiting engineers, IT-experts and specialists from Bangladesh.

The collaboration between the Armed Forces of Bangladesh and the Armed Forces of the Philippines is worth mentioning. A good number of members of Armed Forces from both countries have received training alternatelyin both countries. A Study tour to the Philippines by a 36-member NDC team from Bangladesh during 28 Oct -03 November, 2013 was another friendly gesture of military exchange program between the two countries.

Bangladesh and the Philippines share common perceptions and views on many issues at the UN and other international fora. Bangladesh will continue to work closely with the Philippines for peace, stability and economic development of the region and beyond. Bangladesh has always played a constructive role in addressing the issue in Mindanao in the Southern Philippines and will always support peaceful resolution of all armed conflicts in this area. Bangladesh supports the observer status of the Philippines in the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC).Bangladesh supports the peaceful settlement of west Philippines Sea (South China Sea) issues and hope that friendly environment exists in this region. Bangladesh is an active member of the ASEAN Regional Forum(ARF), and participates in its events with aim to contributing substantially in its forward movement.  The Armed Forces of Bangladesh is involved in the disaster relief demonstrations of the ARF.

Bangladesh and the Philippines supported each other in different UN Agencies and International Organizations to their mutual advantages. To cite a few examples, Bangladesh supported:

Bangladesh’s support:

         a. Committee on Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) for the term 2011-2014.

         b. Candidature of the Philippines for membership to the Human Rights Council for the term 2007-2010.

         c.  UNDP/UNFPA Executive Board for the term 2011-2013.

         d. Candidature of the Philippines for a seat in International Criminal Court held on 12 December 2011 in Rome.

         e. Candidature of the Philippines to the Commission on Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) for the term 2012-2017.

Philippines’ support to BD candidature:

a. Bangladesh’s candidature for membership of International Telecommunication Union(ITU) for the term 2010-2014.

        b. Election to the IMO Council in Category ”B” while Bangladesh supported candidature of the Philippines in Category “C” held in London in November’11.

        c. UNDP/UNFPA Executive Board for the term 2011-2013.

        d. Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) for the term 2011-2014.

        e. Candidature of Bangladesh to the Economic & Social Council for term 2014-2016 (election to be held in 2013).

Bangladesh and the Philippines stand beside each other during any natural disaster. During the recent Super Typhoon Yolanda(Haiyan) in November 2013 Bangladesh was one of the first countries who declared one million USD cash donation for the typhoon affected people of the central Philippines. Bangladesh also sent relief goods and medicines worth 165,000 USD for the typhoon victims. The Philippines also came forward with generous hands during natural disasters faced by peoples of Bangladeshin the past.