Bangladesh, Sri Lanka to ink FTA soon, says Commerce Minister

Dhaka, Oct.29 (ANI): Bangladesh will soon sign a free trade agreement (FTA) with Sri Lanka to reduce trade barriers, Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed has told media here.

All formalities have been completed, although there are ‘some complications’ in export duty, the minister told reporters after meeting Sri Lankan High Commissioner Yasoja Gunasekera earlier this week.

“We have proposed to reduce the duty on export from 13.5 to 5 percent in order to boost the trade between the two countries,” said quoting the minister.

Ahmed said the two countries were discussing to solve the problems in trade.

Bangladesh exports to Sri Lanka stood at USD 26.8 million in 2014-15 fiscal year against imports worth USD 66.65 million.

Ahmed said the USD 39.84 million trade deficit with Sri Lanka would wither away once the problems were solved.

He emphasized connectivity between the two countries in order to boost trade.

“Sri Lankan flights are coming every week. Bangladesh will also set up air link with Sri Lanka. Sea routes will also be opened.”

The demand of Bangladesh fish and medicine in Sri Lanka is very high, according to Ahmed.

“But there are also problems. The two countries have agreed to solve these,” he added. (ANI)

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