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India And Bangladesh Revisit FTA Talks

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Hasina Wazed, has said that stalled talks towards a free trade agreement with India will be revisited this month. Both sides have been discussing the removal of all barriers to bilateral trade - allowing greater market access to Bangladeshi exports, which the Bangladeshi side has said have been inhibited by tariffs thus far.

The announcement follows the official visit to New Delhi by Hasina in January, where it was agreed by both countries for work to begin in earnest towards the removal of all barriers to bilateral trade - both tariff and non-tariff – through the signing of a free trade agreement.

Last month, Shri Vishambhar Saran, president of Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC), and Matlub Ahmad, president of India-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IBCCI), signed a landmark agreement, the Dhaka declaration, at the end of the India-Bangladesh Investment Conclave seminar. The Dhaka declaration sets out areas where the two countries will target resources to facilitating greater trade flows, including improving infrastructure.

Trade delegations will begin discussions at the end of March, and according to Indian reports, will initially focus on tariffs placed on goods. Services will be brought under the free trade regime at a later date.