Dhaka Tribune | 7 October 2018
Brazil keen to sign FTA with Bangladesh
by Ibrahim Hossain Ovi
On Sunday commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed said Brazil is willing to sign a Free Trade Area (FTA) agreement with Bangladesh to boost bilateral trade between the two countries.
Brazil also seeks to form a Brazil-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry to encourage private sector investors of both countries to enhance business communication.
The minister made the announcement at the secretariat in Dhaka yesterday, after a meeting with the Brazilian Ambassador to Bangladesh, João Tabajara de Oliveira Junior,.
“Brazil is a potential market for Bangladeshi RMG products. But due to higher tariffs on apparel goods, Bangladesh cannot penetrate the market,” said Tofail Ahmed.
Currently, exports from Bangladesh to the Brazilian market are subject to 35% duties. A bilateral Free Trade Area agreement would help Bangladeshi products enter their market with lower tariffs, said Ahmed.
The signing of FTA will open a new avenue for Bangladeshi goods in the Latin American country, while formation of a joint chamber will create new opportunities for investment, said the minister.
“As friendly nations, Bangladesh and Brazil maintain good trade relations. Brazil is very eager to increase trade with Bangladesh,” said João Tabajara de Oliveira Junior.
In institutionalizing trade relations between the two countries, forming a chamber and signing an FTA are needed, said the envoy.
According to Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) data, in the last fiscal year, Bangladesh’s export earnings reached $177 million in merchandising exports to Brazil, while it imported goods worth $1.52 billion from the Latin American country.
Bangladesh imports sugar, wheat, and cotton from Brazil and exports apparel products, pharmaceuticals, plastics, tableware, vegetable textile fibre, jute goods, and man-made filaments.
Senior Commerce Secretary Shubhashish Bose, and Additional Secretary Md Obaidul Azam, were present at the programme.