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Bangladesh, Nepal stress finalizing PTA

BSS News - 20 April 2024

Bangladesh, Nepal stress finalizing PTA

Bangladesh and Nepal in a commerce secretary level meeting put emphasis on finalizing the Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA), highlighting its significance in boosting bilateral trade between Bangladesh and Nepal.

The 7th Commerce Secretary Level Meeting (7th CSLM) between Bangladesh and Nepal was held in Kathmandu on April 18-19, said a press release here today.

Bangladesh delegation was led by Tapan Kanti Ghosh, Senior Secretary, Ministry of Commerce, while Nepali delegation was led by Dinesh Kumar Ghimire, Secretary (Commerce and Supplies), Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies.

Each delegation included officials from relevant ministries, as well as ambassadors from both countries.

Both sides expected that the proposed PTA will foster increased trade by facilitating duty-free or preferential access to each other’s goods.

It was also agreed that the Trade Negotiating Committee (TNC) would convene promptly to conclude the PTA text, Rules of Origin, and product lists.

Both delegation leaders expressed satisfaction on the excellent bilateral relations that exist between Bangladesh and Nepal. The 7th CSLM discussed various pertinent issues for further strengthening Bangladesh-Nepal trade and economic cooperation.

Recognizing the pivotal role of seamless connectivity in bolstering trade relations, Bangladesh and Nepal stressed the importance of implementing the cargo protocol under the BBIN-MVA (Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal Motor Vehicles Agreement).

In view of the forthcoming graduation of both Bangladesh and Nepal from Least Developed Country (LDC) status by 2026, the meeting underscored potential challenges affecting market access. Collaboration was highlighted as paramount in addressing these challenges while promoting bilateral trade and fostering enhanced connectivity.

Welcoming the recent development in power sector cooperation with Nepal, Bangladesh emphasized the necessity of a secure, long-term power supply, dedicated transmission infrastructure, and comprehensive investor protection for Bangladeshi investors.

The meeting reviewed existing bilateral Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) pertaining to agriculture and trade-related technical regulations. Effective implementation of these MoUs was stressed to foster a favorable environment for business communities from both nations.

In a significant stride towards cooperation, Bangladesh and Nepal agreed to sign a Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement (CMMA), facilitating the exchange of Customs-related data and information. Both countries reiterated the importance of harmonizing and streamlining customs procedures to bolster trade facilitation. Efforts to simplify and expedite visa procedures for Bangladeshi businesspersons were also discussed during the meeting.

Concluding on a forward-looking note, the meeting decided to hold the next Commerce Secretary-Level Meeting (CSLM) in Bangladesh at a mutually convenient time.

 source: BSS News