Govt. takes policy on free and preferential trade deals

Sun Online Desk

3rd June, 2021 08:02:59 PM printer

Govt. takes policy on free and preferential trade deals

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.