This year, Switzerland and Bangladesh are celebrating the 40th anniversary of their bilateral relations. During their meeting, Mr Burkhalter and Dr Moni congratulated each other on the various events that will be organised in Switzerland and Bangladesh to mark the occasion. Bangladesh, for example, will be a special guest at the Fribourg International Film Festival.
Mr Burkhalter noted the excellent relations between the two countries since Bangladesh gained its independence in 1971 and official relations were established in 1972. Bangladesh is one of the priority countries for Switzerland's development cooperation. With a budget of CHF 25 million (2011), Switzerland is primarily active in the field of rural development, focusing on job creation, local governance and the provision of service to people most in need. Switzerland also provides humanitarian support. Projects related to the fight against climate change and to intellectual property are also being developed.
Trade between the two countries amounted to CHF 307 million in 2011, including CHF 120 million worth of exports of Swiss products to Bangladesh. The exports involved mainly textile machinery and pharmaceutical and chemical products. Textile products account for 90% of imports from Bangladesh.
The two ministers reiterated their desire to continue to strengthen the bilateral cooperation between Switzerland and Bangladesh. To this end, they signed a Memorandum of Understanding establishing a political dialogue between the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh. They also underscored the necessity to intensify cooperation in the fight against global warming.
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