Iran has expressed its interest to open direct and regular sea connectivity with Bangladesh for increasing bilateral trade subject to economic feasibility, officials said.
In response to the country's request, they said, the Islamic Republic showed the interest to introduce container-carrying vessels between the ports of the two countries also on condition of having enough amounts of propositions for maritime transportation of goods.
Iran wanted to discuss the issue in details in a meeting of officials of the shipping companies of the two countries at a convenient time and venue, they added.
Bangladesh through its embassy in Tehran had earlier requested Iran to consider introducing the direct shipping link while Iran through its embassy in Dhaka apprised in a recent letter to Bangladesh ministries of foreign affairs, shipping and commerce of their readiness to discuss in this regard.
The ministries concerned were working on the issue, a senior official told the FE.
A commerce ministry source said Iran is also interested to improve bilateral economic relations with Bangladesh.
The bilateral trade between the two countries stood at about US$ 35 million in fiscal year (FY) 2017-18, down from about US$ 60 million in FY 2015-16, he added.
There is demand for Bangladeshi items like agro-products, raw jute and jute goods in Iran. Besides, Bangladeshi investors could invest in export-oriented fertiliser factory in the Western Asian country.
Bangladesh and Iran signed a memorandum of understanding on bilateral trade in February 2001.
The two countries have also signed a preferential trade agreement in 2006, which remains almost non-functional since its signing, according to the commerce ministry source.