Cabinet has approved a proposal to sign a preferential trade agreement with Bangladesh.
Both Sri Lanka and Bangladesh act as stakeholder member countries of the accords namely SAARC Preferential Trading Arrangement (SAPTA), South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA), Global System of trade Preference (GSTP), Asia – Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA) and Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC).
However, trade movements between the two states lies at a minimum level despite of special provisions under the aforementioned accords.
During a visit undertaken by Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa to Bangladesh, the leaders of the two member states had agreed upon the requirement of entering into a free trade accord for strengthening economic relationships between the two countries.
It was later decided to look at the possibility of entering into a preferential trade agreement with a short list of goods as the initial step.
Accordingly, the Cabinet agreed to hold discussions with the relevant authorities in Bangladesh to enter into a preferential trade agreement with Bangladesh. (Colombo Gazette)