Nepal will begin to export 500 megawatts of hydropower to Bangladesh soon, said Nepalese Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali on Tuesday.
He was addressing a discussion titled "Bangladesh-Nepal Relations: prospectus for sub-regional cooperation" at the Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies in the capital.
"Nepal will be able to export electricity to Bangladesh soon," Pradeep Kumar hoped.
Pradeep said India's GMR Company has been constructing a hydropower plant in Nepal. Bangladesh has signed an agreement for importing 500-megawatt electricity from the plant. As per the agreement, the construction will be completed within five to six years.
"Nepal considers Bangladesh as an important country. There are similarities in people and their lifestyle in these two countries. Among South Asian countries, Bangladesh economy is growing fast followed by Nepal," said Pradeep.
He also said both the countries want to utilise the potentiality in improving trade and economic relations and tourist exchange.
Pradeep Kumar also thanked Bangladesh for providing transit facility to Nepal.
The life standard of the South Asian people will improve after a project titled the "Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal Initiative" is completed. Nepal has emphasised technical issues more for boosting the bilateral trade.
"We want to use the Saidpur Airport too," he added.
Signing of a free trade agreement between Nepal and Bangladesh will open a new economic era. There will be a detailed discussion on this issue at the secretary-level meeting between the two countries in March, he said further.
Terming Nepal a friendly country, State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam as the chief guest, said, "We are working on various projects to improve road, water and air communications between the countries."
Shahriar said Nepal wanted to use the Saidpur Airport and a Bangladeshi technical team will visit the airport to determine what type of flight it can accommodate.
"Banglabandha land port is being built for trade with Nepal. Rail communication will be made with the help of Chilahati Railway. We will discuss it with India," he added.
Earlier, Pradeep Kumar Gyawali met with Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen over transit, free-trade agreement and other issues related to bilateral interests.
Trade surplus with Nepal
Nepal is the only country in South Asia with which Bangladesh has a trade surplus. According to the Export Promotion Bureau, Bangladesh exported goods worth $38.04 million to Nepal during 2019-2020.
The major exporting items of Bangladesh to the land-locked Nepal include agricultural products, jute and jute goods, engineering products, pharmaceutical products, paper and paper board, cotton, chemical products, plastics and plastic articles, specialised textile, furniture, bedding, mattress, cushions and similar stuffed furnishing, knitwear, woven garments, frozen food, headgear and parts, home textile, man-made filaments and staple fibres, ceramic products, glass and glassware, clocks and watches and parts.
Bangladesh mainly imported vegetable products, prepared foodstuffs, beverages, spirits and vinegar, tobacco and manufactured tobacco substitutes, zinc and articles, products of the chemical or allied industries, sulphur, lime and cement, man-made staple fibre, soyabean oil and its fractions, brooms and brushes from Nepal.