Dhaka Tribune | 18 November 2022
Bangladesh, Singapore sign first step to FTA
Bangladesh and Singapore on Wednesday signed a memorandum of cooperation (MoC) in its first step to negotiating a free trade agreement (FTA) and also find potential for trade and investment opportunities between the two countries.
Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi and visiting Singapore Minister for Trade Relation and Industry AS Iswaran signed the agreement in the capital.
Prime minister’s private industry and investment Adviser Salman F Rahman was present at the ceremony, moderated by Senior Commerce Secretary Tapan Kanti Ghosh.
The commerce minister said that although the balance of trade is in favour of Singapore, the country is one of the top investors and one of the largest trading partners of Bangladesh.
He said the MoC will help upgrade and develop the capacity of domestic industries to tap the potentials in the South East Asian markets.
Expressing the hope that the MoC is likely to create a new era of working with optimum opportunities by pursuing the FTA between the two countries, the minister said the joint working group will explore the areas of cooperation and prospective trade blocs.
Referring to the challenges that still remain due to the Covid pandemic and Russia-Ukraine war, Munshi said the LDC graduation has also made the country focus more on finding trade, investment opportunities and collaboration between the private sectors of the two countries.
Bangladesh’s exports to Singapore were only $127.12 million during FY22 against its imports from Singapore worth $4.11 billion.
The Singaporean minister said the joint working group will sit to clear and create better understanding on the ideas of cooperation including FTA and hoped that the potential sectors will be coming out following the joint meetings.
The PM’s adviser said the MoC is expected to enhance the trade relationship between the two countries as huge opportunities lie in trade and investment.
Before signing of the MoC, the delegations of Bangladesh and Singapore sat to identify preliminary sectors of cooperation and selected 16 sectors including jute and jute products, textiles and apparels, agriculture, renewable energy, ICT, light engineering, leather and leather products, skills development, transport, logistics, digital economy and education services.ce Minister Tipu Munshi and visiting Singapore Minister for Trade Relation and Industry AS Iswaran signed the agreement