Dhaka moves fast to strike two dozen deals with Moscow to bolster the bilateral ties, officials said, in a latest development on the diplomatic front.
The ministry of foreign affairs (MoFA) in a recent meeting asked the ministries and departments concerned to finalise drafts of the agreements forthwith, they added.
And some of those pacts are likely to be inked during Bangladesh foreign minister's trip to Russia this month (April) and top-level visit to Dhaka from the other direction.
"…Hon'ble Prime Minister has instructed to strengthen the relations with Russia to take the relationship to a different level," foreign secretary Shahidul Haque said in the meeting while requesting the authorities concerned to finalise pending issues on priority.
On March 01, the two nations signed an agreement to establish an intergovernmental commission on trade, economy, science and technology.
According to officials the two sides are interested in signing a framework agreement on maritime affairs, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on manpower export, Bangladesh's accession to the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, MoU on cooperation in science and technology, and MoU between anti-corruption bodies of the two countries.
The duo are also in talks over the signing of cooperation agreement between their supreme courts, abolition of the USSR agreement on visa- fee waiver, protocol on safety and quality assurance and compliance with phyto-sanitary requirements at mutual deliveries of grains and grain products, and avoidance of double taxation.
They also mull over deals on transfer of sentenced persons, agreement on extradition, MoU on reduction in international roaming tariffs between the two countries, agreement on mutual protection of intellectual property in the course of bilateral military and technical cooperation, and agreement on mutual protection of classified information.
The two nations are also working on an MoU between Eurasian Economic Union and Bangladesh, MoU on cooperation in power and energy sector, information and communications technology, maritime transport, cultural affairs, mass communication, and MoU on cooperation between Russian ITAR Tass News Agency and Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha.
Presently, Bangladesh is setting up two nuclear power plants, each having a 1,200-megawatt capacity, with Russian financing. The two countries signed a deal on loan totaling US$12.65 billion in December 2015.
Bangladesh has long been seeking duty-free access to Russia, considering it a large market. In 2016 the two-way trade figured about $1.6 billion.
Bangladesh mainly exports apparel items, frozen foods, leather, tea, jute and jute goods, home textiles and ceramic products to Russia. On the other hand, Bangladesh imports raw materials for textile industry, minerals and chemical products, metal, plastic products, machinery and mechanical equipment, fertilizers, and wheat from there.