DHAKA: China is ready to sign a free trade agreement with Bangladesh at an early date, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said at a meeting in Dhaka the other day.
Wang, who was meeting with his Bangladeshi counterpart, Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali, said that China sees Bangladesh as an important development partner in South Asia and is committed to resolving the imbalance in trade between the two countries. While total bilateral trade has reached around $8.3 billion, exports from Bangladesh to China are less than one-tenth of the total.
In addition to a promise of additional investment by China in selected sectors in Bangladesh, Wang said China foresees that the completion of an FTA could improve market access for both parties by eliminating significant tariff barriers to trade.
Despite the reassurances, Bangladesh’s Government did not immediately accept China’s offer. For Bangladesh, the deal would be the nation’s first bilateral free trade agreement.