Bangladesh-Bhutan trade accord in Nov

New Nation (Bangladesh) | 10 Oct 2008

Bangladesh- Bhutan trade accord in Nov

Syful Islam

Bangladesh and Bhutan are going to sign a Trade Agreement (TA) in November with a view to boosting trade between the two countries, informed sources said.

Bhutan recently in a letter expressed its interest to ink the deal in November when it’s Minister for Economic Affaits Khandu Wangchuk is scheduled to visit Bangladesh to attend a business conference of the Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI).

Commerce Ministry sources said the deal is now awaiting for vetting from the Ministry of Law Affairs and expected to get approval by next week. Later it will be sent to the Advisory council for approval.

Bangladesh and Bhutan have very little volume of bilateral trades, which always remains in favour of the latter. According to the available statistics during the July 2007-March 2008 period Bangladesh imported goods worth US$ 10.80 million from Bhutan while its exports to Bhutan amounted to only US$ 0.78 million.

The major items Bangladesh imports from Bhutan are vegetable and mineral products, chemicals, prepared foodstuffs, beverages, fruits, vinegar, tobacco, timber, wooden products and textile items. Bangladesh, on the other hand, mainly exports woven garment, computer accessories, dry food and frozen fish besides pharmaceutical products.

A Commerce Secretary level trade talks was held between Bangladesh and Bhutan in Thimpu from August 12-15 where Bhutan’s Economic Affairs Secretary Dasho Sonam Tshering termed Bangladesh an important trading partner of the country. He hoped that signing of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) would further promote trade and economic cooperation between the two countries. The Bhutanese part proposed that the two sides should agree on duty free treatment to various products for signing FTA.

However, the Secretary level talks could not reach any final decision time regarding signing FTA or duty free treatment and left it for policymaker’s decision.

The meeting also discussed signing of Agreement on Trade between the two countries that has recently expired. The Bhutanese side referred to the importance of keeping the agreement functional and advantages associated with the signing the agreement in entirety. The Bangladesh side agreed to the Bhutanese proposal.

The meeting agreed that Tamabil port will be included as entry and exit point and necessary measures will be taken immediately in this connection.

The two sides agreed on the need to build linkages between respective standards and testing organisations for working towards the ultimate objective of mutual reorganisation of standards.

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source: New Nation