The German Ambassador in Dhaka, Peter Fahrenholtz, has said that Germany will remain committed to its future partnership with Bangladesh and look ahead to deepening and broadening the existing bilateral ties.
Calling the ready-made garment (RMG) sector the growth engine of Bangladesh, Fahrenholtz said the country has a good chance of getting the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) plus facilities from its ongoing dialogue with the European Union (EU).
The diversification of Bangladesh's economy is crucial, and it is on the cards, said the German ambassador, while addressing the inaugural session of "Bangladesh-German Consultations 2020" held at the NEC-2 Conference Room in the capital.
However, Bangladesh must strongly uphold its international labour rights and conventions – plus resolve related issues – to meet even the strictest compliance demands of the EU's GSP plus facilities, after stepping out of the Least Developed Countries (LDC) group in 2024, according to the policy paper presented by the German side.
Peter Fahrenholtz said Germany supports Bangladesh in its call for solutions to the Rohingya crisis, which have to be found within Myanmar.
For a sustainable political system and good governance, the rule of law is vital, said the German ambassador. ''To cut back bureaucracy in government spending in a very effective way is critical.''
"We have seen criticisms over elections in the last few years, and I think it could have been avoided.
''It is crucial in the future to look at these criticisms, which have also been put forward by the EU election monitoring team, and to incorporate them in the future election process.
"Bangladesh does not need the criticisms which have been put forward by observers, NGOs, and other countries, and you are fully capable of having the election process without getting any criticism."
During the bilateral consultations, both delegations discussed the recent social and economic progress of Bangladesh and reviewed the outcome of cooperation between the two sides.
The Head of the South Asia Division of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, Dr Ute Heinbuch, led the German side at the consultations. Economic Relations Division Additional Secretary Dr Gauranga Chandra Mohanta led the Bangladesh side during the technical sessions.
Issues discussed at the consultation were renewable energy and energy efficiency, justice reform and human rights, adaptation to climate change in urban areas, biodiversity, social and environmental standards in the textile sector, Rohingya crisis in Cox's Bazar district and support to the locals and Rohingya communities.
Dr Gauranga said, "Germany provides technical and financial assistance to Bangladesh, and currently 17 projects are running with German assistance. Today's consultations have been sector-specific, which included good governance, energy, renewable energy, energy efficiency, textile and climate change.''
''We will have negotiations in Berlin in mid-October touching on different sectors. There, we will get to know about the loan and grant that Germany would offer."
''Germany committed around Tk1846.6 crore to Bangladesh in 2019 for development projects in different sectors, and the support is expected to be extended this year.
''The country promised to support local people in Cox's Bazar, who are also suffering from the Rohingya crisis.''
After the day-long consultations, both sides signed a joint statement.
Germany has been providing financial and technical assistance for the development of Bangladesh since 1972, which amounts to over €3 billion today.