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Dhaka, KL Jt body meets today: FTA, duty-free access for 19 goods on agenda

New Nation, Bangladesh

Dhaka, KL Jt body meets today: FTA, duty-free access for 19 goods on agenda

By UNB, Dhaka

5 June 2005

The 3rd Bangladesh-Malaysia Joint Commission Meeting (JCM) begins here today (Monday) after a hiatus of over 10 years to explore intensified cooperation in potential sectors of trade, investment and manpower.

Malaysian Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Bin Syed Jaafar Albar arrives here today to attend the third JCM at the invitation of Foreign Minister M Morhsed Khan.

The two Foreign Ministers will lead their respective delegation in the JCM on Tuesday (June 7) at Sonargaon Hotel.

Dhaka will propose FTA, seek duty-free access for 19 Bangladeshi products to the Malaysian market and setting up a Joint Trade Commission.

Other crucial issues likely to figure prominently during the meeting include manpower export, visa, joint investment in energy and agriculture sector, introduction of direct shipping as well as cooperation in IT, health, education and cultural sectors.

The two-way trade is heavily tilted towards Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur’s export bill stood at US$ 254.66 million against Dhaka’s export of US $ 8.66 million in 2003-04. To reduce the trade gap, officials here said Bangladesh would seek duty-free access of its 19 products, including jute and jutegoods, leather and leather products, pharmaceuticals, frozen food, electric cable and tea.

The Minister-level meeting will be preceded by Secretary-level meeting of the Joint Commission today. ERD Secretary Ismail Jabiullah will lead the Bangladesh delegation while the Deputy Secretary General, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, will lead the Malaysian side at the secretary level meeting.