COLOMBO, March 27 (Xinhua) -- Sri Lanka has called for stronger maritime and air links with Bangladesh to boost bilateral trade and investments between the two nations, the Commerce and Industry Ministry said in a statement here Tuesday.
The ministry said that while the ports of Hambantota and Colombo were of vital importance to the maritime industry due to their strategic locations in the Indian Ocean, there could now be strong linkages between these ports and the port of Chittagong in Bangladesh in order to facilitate shipping, tourism and investments.
In addition, the ministry said more frequent direct air links between Colombo and Dhaka too shall strengthen economic cooperation, investment promotion, tourism and people-to-people contacts.
"Expansion of air-links would bring more opportunities to entrepreneurs and investors of the two countries too," Commerce and Industry Minister Rishad Bathiudeen said.
"As neighbouring members of the Bay of Bengal region, both countries have many commonalities. Our common cultural affinities and historical links have immensely nourished our modern day inter-state relations," Bathiudeen added.
The minister said that in recent years, Sri Lanka's bilateral trade with Bangladesh had seen a surge.
In 2017, apparels, plastics, and petroleum products were Sri Lanka's leading exports to Bangladesh.