Bangladesh on Sunday signed its maiden Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) with Bhutan to boost bilateral trade between the two countries.
Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi and Bhutanese Economic Affairs Minister Lyonpo Loknath Sharma signed the agreement on behalf of their respective sides.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her Bhutanese counterpart Lotay Tshering witnessed the signing ceremony joining the event virtually from Ganobhaban in Dhaka and Thimphu respectively.
The PTA with Bhutan is the first such bilateral preferential trade agreement Bangladesh signed with any country since independence in 1971.
The signing was held today to make the day memorable as on this day in 1971, Bhutan became the first country in the world to recognise Bangladesh’s independence.
Besides, the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Bangladesh and Bhutan will also be celebrated on this day.
Some 100 Bangladeshi products will get duty-free access in Bhutan. These include – baby clothes and clothing accessories, men’s trousers and shorts, jackets and blazers, jute and jute goods, leather and leather goods, dry cell battery, fan, watch, potato, condensed milk, cement, toothbrush, plywood, particle board, mineral and carbonated water, green tea, orange juice, pineapple juice, and guava juice
Meanwhile, 34 Bhutanese products that will get duty-free access to the Bangladeshi market include – orange, apple, ginger, fruit juice, milk, natural honey, wheat or meslin flour, homogenised preparations of jams, fruit jellies, marmalades, food preparations of soybeans, mineral water, wheat bran, quartzite, cement clinker, limestone, wooden particle boards, and wooden furniture.
Both countries will be able to increase the number of items gradually through consultation.
The bilateral trade volume of the two countries was just $12.77 million in the fiscal year 2008-09 with Bangladesh’s exports to Bhutan amounting to $0.61 million while it imported goods worth $12.16 million.
The bilateral trade volume reached $49.65 million in the fiscal year 2018-19 out of which Bangladesh’s exports to Bhutan totalled $7.56 million against the imports of $42.09 million.
Photo credit: Collected
News source: UNB NEWS