Bangladesh is set to enter the era of bilateral duty-free trade agreements

[source: Business standard] Bangladesh is set to enter the era of bilateral duty-free trade agreements this month by signing a preferential trade agreement (PTA) with its South Asian neighbour Bhutan.

Dhaka is also looking to sign free trade agreements (FTA) with Japan, Indonesia and Nepal later this year.

The Ministry of Commerce has launched the initiatives to continue enjoying the existing duty-free export facilities even after Bangladesh’s graduation from the status of a least developed country (LDC) to that of a developing one.

Bangladesh currently has no FTA or PTA with any country. The government did not feel the need for such agreements as the country, being an LDC, has been enjoying the generalised system of preferences (GSP) facility in other markets.

But the facility might be cancelled in 2024 after the country’s graduation to a developing one. Therefore, the Ministry of Commerce is now emphasising such agreements as Dhaka is assessing bilateral free trade agreements with at least a dozen countries.
Commerce Secretary Jafar Uddin told The Business Standard that the draft PTA with Bhutan – the first country which recognised Bangladesh in 1971 – has been sent for cabinet approval.

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