The press secretary said the Bangladesh prime minister at the talks gave some suggestions regarding the cooperation, saying that areas could be expanded in the greater interest of the two countries.

In reply, the Italian premier said his country will consider these suggestions with a great attention.

Giuseppe Conte put emphasis on strengthening cooperation between the two countries in the fields of energy and defence.

“Italy can offer many products to Bangladesh,” he said

The Bangladesh prime minister invited Italian entrepreneurs to invest in Bangladesh in a bigger volume.

“Bangladesh has the best investment-friendly policy in South Asia, and Italian investors can invest in Bangladesh in a larger volume by taking this advantage,” she said.

She went on saying: “Her government is establishing 100 economic zones across the country and Italian entrepreneurs can also invest there.”

Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh offers a large market to its neighbourhood including a huge domestic market with a growing middle class population.

She requested the Italian government to facilitate visas for the Bangladeshi businesspeople to help boost trade and investment between the two countries.

The prime minister said Italy can import more leather and leather goods from Bangladesh.

Sheikh Hasina said Italy is hosting the highest number of Bangladeshi workers after Britain and they are contributing a lot to the economy of both the countries.

In this connection, she said Bangladesh is committed to preventing illegal migration.

The press secretary said the Bangladesh prime minister also briefed the Italian premier of Bangladesh’s socioeconomic development.

She said her government has brought down the poverty rate to 20:5 percent from 41:5 percent in 2006.

Giuseppe Conte highly praised Bangladesh’s remarkable achievement in GDP growth.

He also appreciated expatriate Bangladeshis working in Italy, saying that they are very hard working.

The Italian prime minister thanked the Bangladesh government for taking prompt action after the Holey Artisan Cafe attack in Dhaka. Twenty-two people including nine Italian citizens were killed in the July 1, 2016 attack.

In reply, Sheikh Hasina said the attack was crushed within few hours, and since then terrorism in Bangladesh is under total control.

Terming terrorism as a global problem, the prime minister said her government is spearheading a campaign against the social menace by involving the cross section of people.

Sheikh Hasina invited her Italian counterpart to join the Mujib Borsho Programmes that will be held from March 17, 2020 to March 26, 2021. The Italian prime minister informed Sheikh Hasina that they will celebrate the golden jubilee of establishing diplomatic ties between the two countries in 2022.

Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen, PM’s Principal Secretary Dr Ahmad Kaikaus, Bangladesh Ambassador in Rome Abdus Sobhan Sikdar and Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen were present during the meeting between the two premiers.

Earlier, on her arrival at the at Palazzo Chigi, which is also known as the palace of the Italian premier, Sheikh Hasina was given a guard of honour by the palace guards, the press secretary said.

He said the national anthems of the two countries were played on the occasion.