Sri Lanka-Bangladesh FTA to be fast-tracked to 2018
In early 2014 the initial meeting of the Bangladesh-Sri Lanka Joint Working Group (JWG) on trade was held in Dhaka with both countries reaching a consensus to conduct feasibility studies on drafting an agreement to promote bilateral trade between the two nations, and after the July 2017 state visit made by President Maithripala Sirisena to Dhaka the need to strengthen trade ties was further cemented.
On a recent visit to Colombo the Bangladeshi Minister of Commerce, Tofail Ahmedstressed the importance of finalising the free trade agreement (FTA), which is still being reviewed by officials, and signing it by 2018.
“Let us sign before end-2018. It is time that we focus on much broader trade levels. Bilateral trade has been on the increase but the volumes are not so great, we can do better,” said Ahmed.
From 2012-2016 bilateral trade between the two countries had risen by 43% amounting to USD 142 million by 2016 and Y-o-Ytrade indicated an upsurge of 11% in 2016 which was an increase on the 2015 amount of USD 131 million.
“I too agree that being in the South Asian region, our present trade levels do not reflect maximum outcomes. We are working for the third Joint Working Group session between both countries to be held in Colombo any-time before the end of this year,” Sri Lanka’s Minister of Trade and Commerce, Rishad Bathiudeen said.
Bangladesh’s garment sector is presently booming and an FTA will allow Sri Lankan registered companies to take advantage of this fact. Also, with Bangladesh being a leading LNG producer, it will be a positive for those interested in Sri Lanka’s LNG energy generation sector.
Sri Lanka already has FTAs with several other South Asian countries as well. Therefore Sri Lanka would be an attractive destination for trade and other businesses for the discerning investor.
|Article Code :||VBS/AT/11092017/Z_2|