Financial Express | 28 Dec 2014
Beijing proposes FTA with Dhaka
China has proposed signing a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Bangladesh to boost trade ties between the two countries, minimising the trade gap against Bangladesh. The Chinese side came up with the proposal at bilateral talks between the two countries at the Foreign Ministry in Dhaka on Sunday. Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali led the 19-member Bangladesh side while his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi the 13-member China team at the meeting that reviewed the entire gamut of bilateral relations.
‘China wants to start negotiation on FTA. We’ll explore the proposal,’ Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque told reporters after the meeting. He informed that no decision has been taken on whether Bangladesh will start the negotiation right now.
‘They (China) think there’ll be a solid decision next year on the matter, and hoped that it’ll take off,’ said the Foreign Secretary. He said the Chinese side indicated that they are considering a big investment in the economic zone. Haque also informed that Dhaka proposed rail and road connectivity through Chittgaong-Cox’s Bazar-Myanmar-Kunming.
‘Our Foreign Minister proposed it, and the Chinese side initially responded positively, especially on the road connectivity,’ he added, according to a news agency.