UNB | 3 June 2021
Govt. takes policy on free and preferential trade deals
by JATIYA SANGSAD
Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal has said that the government has adopted policy for executing bilateral agreements on free and preferential trade with different countries.
In unveiling the 2021-22 fiscal budget in Parliament on Thursday the minister said bilateral Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) and Preferential Trade Agreements (PTAs) are either being signed or finalised to meet the challenges in global trade following the country’s transition from LDC status.
“Under the agreement, 34 Bhutanese products will get duty-free access to the Bangladeshi market and 100 Bangladeshi products to the Bhutanese market,” he added.
The Finance Minister said PTA negotiations with Nepal are at the final stage.
Significant progress has also been made in formal talks aimed at signing a bilateral PTA with Indonesia. Work on a joint study aimed at conducting a free trade agreement with Sri Lanka is at the final stage.
In addition, he said, feasibility studies have been completed to assess trade potentials for signing of FTA/PTA with different countries, such as Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, Japan, Eurasian Economic Commission.
Bangladesh’s feasibility of signing trade agreements with China, Myanmar, Nigeria, Mali, Macedonia, Mauritius, Jordan, USA, Iraq and Lebanon is being explored.
He said an initiative has been taken to conduct a joint feasibility study on the proposed Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement between Bangladesh and India.
To reduce trade deficit, measures are being taken to remove tariff and non-tariff barriers by executing bilateral trade agreements. Such agreements have already been signed with 44 countries, he added.
He said the government has continued to provide export incentives to 36 products to increase competitiveness in exports like it was done in the previous fiscal year.
The government has identified 17 products to boost exports in the aftermath of the pandemic, which is expected to play a strong role in sustaining export growth after Bangladesh’s transition from the least developed countries in 2026, said Mustafa Kamal.