Dhaka, August 4:
Bangladesh is pursuing bilateral free trade deals with three neighbouring countries following the collapse of World Trade Organisation (WTO) talks for a global agreement, an official said today.
â€œInitially, the government will start bilateral free trade talks with India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka,â€ a government spokesman said.
Bangladesh is a member of the WTO and two regional trade treaties: the South Asian Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) and the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral, Technical and
Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC).
But analysts say the country â€” where more than 40 per cent of the 144 million population lives below poverty line â€” has gained little from those multilateral trade deals and that bilateral deals are more beneficial.
â€œThe government should pursue bilateral FTAs as gains from these deals are quicker than from SAFTA,â€ said Mustafizur Rahman, visiting professor of Yale University and the countryâ€™s leading trade expert.
Bangladesh Foreign Trade Institute has compiled a report on the possible risks in signing such
The government will review the opinions and also another research by the World Bank, prior to taking the policy decision.