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Bangladesh to sign FTA with Sri Lanka soon

Business-MinisterBangladesh will ‘soon’ sign a free trade agreement (FTA) with Sri Lanka to reduce trade barriers, Bangladesh Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed has said.

All formalities have been completed, the minister told reporters after meeting Sri Lankan High Commissioner Yasoja Gunasekera on Tuesday, BD News 24 reported.

He, however, said that ‘some complications’ remain on export duty.

“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,” he said.

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

Bangladesh exports to Sri Lanka touched 26.8 million in 2014-15 fiscal year against imports worth $66.65 million.

The commerce minister said the $39.84 million trade deficit with Sri Lanka would wither away once the problems were solved.

He emphasised 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. (Colombo Gazette)

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