It also wants to strengthen cooperation with GoB to prevent and fight against irregular migration, he says
Italian Ambassador to Bangladesh Enrico Nunziata has said they are discussing a possible memorandum of understanding (MoU) on mobility and migration with Bangladesh, specially the content of this memorandum, to encourage regular migration and prevent irregular ones.
"We want to go further in our cooperation on migration issues. In particular, creating and enlarging the existing legal channels or legal pathways for migration while stemming the irregular one," he told UNB in an interview.
The envoy said the two countries have to deepen the cooperation for preventing and fighting against irregular migration, trafficking and so on.
Ambassador Nunziata remembered one of the deliverables during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's visit to Italy in 2020 - reinsertion of Bangladesh in the list of countries whose nationals can benefit from a quota for work.
"We have issued more than 12,000 visas for work from 2021-2022. Then there is a family reunion, business, and so on. But I'm focusing now on work. This new flow will call them families and so on. So this will carry on," he said.
The ambassador said the prevention of irregular migration is very important. The prevention means also creating awareness and organizing campaigns on the risk of irregular migration.
"We are opening new legal channels. So you have to benefit from these agreements, of these new possibilities, and try to follow that path," he said.
There is a proposal on the draft of a memorandum of understanding on security in general, the envoy said, noting the collaboration among the police forces of the two countries.
"So, we want stronger cooperation. We want to promote exchange of best practices, exchange of training, and talk to each other to know each other much better at the level of police forces," he said.
A Solid Relationship
Ambassador Nunziata said the relationship between Italy and Bangladesh is excellent, and there are spaces for increasing the collaboration in some specific sectors. "This relationship is solid and has shown resilience during these years."
On the trade, he said they have a very good commercial exchange that has doubled in 2022 compared to 2021 - more than 53% growth.
"So during 2022 and now 2023, we have already reached and increased the level of pre-pandemic time," he said.
Talking about collaboration in the defence industry, he said there is the possibility of collaboration and transfer of know-how as well on a win-win basis. "So this is another important sector."
The ambassador said they are in the pipeline to have a memorandum of understanding in the cultural sphere for programmes of cultural exchanges.
"I don't know when it will be signed. It's not finalized, but we are really at the latest step to finalize an agreement in exchange for cultural programmes," he said.
Traditionally, Italy has invested in the textile and garment sector but they are willing to provide expertise for the tannery sector, in particular for the sustainability of this industry and improve the quality of the treatment of leather to export to the European Union market.
On shipbuilding, the ambassador said they want to collaborate in the shipbuilding industry for Navy or Coast Guard by sharing know-how and technologies with Bangladesh. "I mean that level of know-how that Bangladesh has not reached in shipbuilding yet. Together, we can do more on that in shipbuilding as well as in other sectors."
"I think that there are many areas of possible collaboration, especially in the blue economy. Italy is a dialogue partner of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA). So we can already have collaboration in the blue economy within the IORA," said the ambassador.
There are areas like security, mobility, environment, and climate change, he said.
He said it is very positive that Bangladesh published their own vision of the Indo-Pacific that matches very much also with EU strategy for cooperation in the Indo-Pacific.
He said the European Union will send an exploratory election monitoring mission in July, and Italy, as a member of the European Union, is supporting the idea.
"And then if there will be the conditions for an observation mission from the European Union, of course we are expecting. It's a very positive development, the fact that the Election Commission of Bangladesh invited an exploratory observation mission from the European Union."
The ambassador said his country is interested in a long-term agreement with Bangladesh to supply LNG, though the current situation in Europe does not allow such collaboration in the short term.
"Of course, we are much more interested in a long-term agreement. The situation in Europe has changed a bit now," he said.
The ambassador said his country wants to participate in energy sector cooperation, and their company, ENI, is already shortlisted by Petrobangla for selling the LNG (liquefied natural gas) in the private market.
Regarding Italy's interest in offshore exploration, ambassador Nunziata said, "Yes, there are discussions, but these are still at a level of proposal. We have to carry on with these discussions and see what the possibility will be there."
The ambassador said the quality of information is the key to the freedom of the press and fighting against disinformation.
"So, UNB can be a very reliable partner for ANSA (a leading news agency in Italy)," he said, adding that he is very happy for having promoted this collaboration.
The readers of the two countries will be benefitted with the flow of quality information - news that arrives from Bangladesh to Italy and from Italy to Bangladesh, he said.
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