Trade deal to consolidate Dhaka- Thimphu ties : Hasina
Eastern Times Correspondent, Dhaka, 6 December: Bangladesh on Sunday signed its first-ever preferential trade agreement with Bhutan to enhance trade, investment and economic cooperation between the two countries.
Commerce minister Tipu Munshi signed the agreement at a ceremony, which also marked the celebration of 50 years of the relationship of the two countries held at Foreign Service Academy in Dhaka.
Bangladesh prime minister Sheikh Hasina and Bhutan prime minister Lotay Tshering attended the programme virtually.
Earlier, economic affairs minister of Bhutan Lyonpo Loknath Sharma signed the agreement and handed over the deal document to the Bangladesh envoy to Bhutan.
According to the commerce ministry, 16 Bhutanese products will get duty-free market access to Bangladesh while 10 Bangladeshi products, including readymade garment, would get the same facility in Bhutan.
Another 90 products of Bangladesh and 18 products of Bhutan will get special exemption in respective markets.
Under this agreement, a wide range of products from Bangladesh and Bhutan can find duty-free entry into each other’s markets. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said the Bangladesh-Bhutan preferential trade agreement (PTA) would further consolidate the relations between the two neighbouring countries for mutual benefit.
“It is time to make our extraordinary relations even more meaningful for mutual benefits and for the overall development and well-being of our citizens. It is in this spirit that we have signed the PTA,” she also said, joining the signing ceremony virtually from her official Ganabhaban residence here.
She added that the PTA signing was held on the day to make it memorable as on this day in 1971, Bhutan became the first country in the world to recognise Bangladesh’s independence, and it also marked the 50th anniversary of bilateral and diplomatic relations between the two countries.
Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi and Bhutan’s Economic Affairs Minister Lyonpo Loknath Sharma signed the PTA on behalf of their respective countries.
Under this agreement, Sheikh Hasina said, a wide range of products from Bangladesh and Bhutan can find duty-free entry into each other’s markets, adding that the PTA also has a provision for including an additional list of products through mutual consensus.
“Once the agreement comes into force, I believe more people in Bangladesh can have access to fresh Bhutanese apples and oranges, while the fashion-conscious people of Bhutan can choose from more varieties of quality apparels from Bangladesh,” she hoped.