India has proposed Bangladesh to consider negotiating a free trade agreement including goods, services and investment to promote two-way commerce and investments. Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu, who is visiting Dhaka, has said that after Bangladesh graduates from the Least Developed Country (LDC) status, it will no longer have duty-free and quota-free access for its products to the Indian market under SAFTA (South Asia Free Trade Agreement).
“In view of this, he proposed that India and Bangladesh may consider signing a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) which would trade in goods and services and investments,” the commerce and industry ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.
The two-way trade between the countries increased to $9.3 billion in 2017-18 from $7.52 billion in the previous fiscal.
Prabhu added that the two countries may consider the possibility of cooperation in connecting Dhaka with rest of Bangladesh through broad gauge railway lines.
Underlining the potential of jute as a natural and environment friendly fiber, he suggested that a Joint Business Group could examine the issues related to this sector. The ministry, he said, is looking forward to develop a roadmap for resolving trade related issues with Bangladesh.
He also spoke about issues related to upgradation of infrastructure at land customs stations for easing the flow of goods and people.