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Bangladesh to sign free trade agreement with Sri Lanka

Bangladesh to sign free trade agreement with Sri Lanka

DHAKA: A free trade agreement (FTA) between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka is currently being discussed to boost the bilateral trade and the governments will sign the agreement soon, Bangladesh Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed has said.

“The proposal is now being discussed at the secretary level,” he said after meeting Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner in Dhaka Yasoja Gunasekara on Sunday, Dhaka Tribune reported. Tofail said the FTA deal would allow Bangladesh use the Colombo port that would save three days for local importers or exporters.

“We will be able to export pharmaceuticals, paper and cement at low import duties after the FTA is signed,” he added.

High Commissioner Gunasekara said the deal would help increase bilateral trade between the two countries.

Despite the friendly relations, bilateral trade volume between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka was just $75.45 million in 2015-16. Bangladesh imports from Sri Lanka were worth only US$ 45.016 million as against US$ 30.45 million exports to Sri Lanka. Since 2012-13, the trade balance has been in Sri Lanka’s favor.