Bangladesh

Oral Answers to Questions — Foreign and Commonwealth Office – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 22nd November 2016.

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Photo of Maggie Throup Maggie Throup Conservative, Erewash 12:00 am, 22nd November 2016

What recent assessment he has made of the strength of diplomatic and economic relations between Bangladesh and the UK.

Photo of Alok Sharma Alok Sharma The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

The UK has strong diplomatic and economic relations with Bangladesh. We are the largest cumulative investor in the country and the largest bilateral grant donor. We also have close historical and cultural ties.

Photo of Maggie Throup Maggie Throup Conservative, Erewash

On Sunday, I attended the UK- Bangladesh catalysts of commerce and industry awards, which showcased the contribution that the Bangladeshi community makes to the economy here in Britain. As we look to strengthen our economic ties with countries outside the EU, does the Minister agree that we should continue to strengthen our trade relationships with countries such as Bangladesh?

Photo of Alok Sharma Alok Sharma The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

There are half a million people of Bangladeshi heritage in the UK, and of course they make an immensely positive contribution to every aspect of British life. I agree entirely with my hon. Friend that we should be doing even more to encourage bilateral trade and investment. She will be pleased to know that we are supporting the Government of Bangladesh to improve their business climate.

Photo of Lisa Cameron Lisa Cameron Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Climate Justice)

After the fatal collapse of the Rana Plaza in 2013 and recent reports indicating that structural repairs remain incomplete and that buildings still lack fire exits and fire alarms, what discussions has the Minister had with his counterparts to ensure workplace safety measures for those working in global corporations in Bangladesh?

Photo of Alok Sharma Alok Sharma The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

The hon. Lady raises a very important point. My colleagues in the Department for International Development are working on precisely those issues. As a Government, we take these sorts of issues very seriously.