Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has given her seal of
approval to a proposal to begin formal negotiations towards signing the
Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with India.
She also agreed on
including this deal signing issue in the joint statement to be issued by the Bangladeshi
and Indian PMs during her upcoming visit to India slated for 5-7 September.
Bangladesh is thus for the
first time going to officially start negotiations on signing a free trade
agreement (FTA) with any country. Some other countries,
including China and Japan, have offered Bangladesh FTA proposals, but
everything is now at an assessment stage.
“Signing such an
agreement with major trade partners brings about good results. But a risk of a fall in revenue is also
associated with it. In FY22, Bangladesh generated Tk17,964 crore against
imports amounting to Tk1,44,160 crore,” the commerce ministry said in the
During the visit
of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Bangladesh on 27 March 2021, the
prime ministers of the two countries issued instructions on quickly completing
the joint feasibility study relating to the signing of the CEPA to strengthen
bilateral trade relations.
Bangladesh’s Foreign Trade Institute and India’s Centre for Regional Trade
conducted a detailed joint feasibility study. Later in May this year, they sent
the study report to their respective commerce ministries. The report came up
with a positive opinion over beginning negotiations for the signing of CEPA.
Ahmad, president of Bangladesh-India Chamber of Commerce and Industries and
former president of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and
Industries noted the skills and resources of the two countries can be utilised
for each other’s development through the signing of the CEPA. This will benefit
both countries. There will also be opportunities to create many jobs in