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FTA with Malaysia this year: Tofail

Daily Star, Bangladesh

FTA with Malaysia this year: Tofail

The commerce minister offers economic zone to Malaysians

Star Business Report

19 January 2016

Bangladesh plans to sign a free trade agreement with Malaysia this year to boost bilateral trade, Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed said yesterday.

He spoke at a meeting with Malaysian International Trade and Industry Minister Mustapa Mohamed at the latter’s residence in Kuala Lumpur, according to a statement from Bangladesh’s commerce ministry.

Bangladesh’s exports to Malaysia will go up if Dhaka is granted duty-free market access for garments, pharmaceuticals and vegetables, Ahmed said.

“There is a trade deficit with Malaysia now, and the process to sign an FTA with Kuala Lumpur is underway. It will be possible to sign the FTA this year,” he added.

“But the trade gap between the two countries will narrow if Bangladesh is awarded duty-free export facility until the FTA is signed.”

Bangladesh will set up 100 special economic zones by 2030. “If sought, an economic zone will be allocated for Malaysian investors who will benefit from investing in Bangladesh.”

Ahmed also urged the Malaysian authorities to simplify the visa procedure for Bangladeshis, to deepen people-to-people contact and boost commerce.