Bangladesh, Bhutan Sign the Preferential Trade Agreement
6 December 2020
The governments of Bangladesh and Bhutan have signed a preferential trade agreement (PTA) on 6 December 2020. The PTA aims to further facilitate and promote bilateral trade between the two countries. Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Bhutan Prime Minister Lotay Tshering witnessed the signing virtually. Mr. Tipu Munshi, Commerce Minister of the Government of Bangladesh, and Mr. Loknath Sharma, Economic Affairs Minister of the Government of Bhutan, signed the agreement on behalf of Bangladesh and Bhutan, respectively.
Features of the proposed Bangladesh-Bhutan PTA include (i) duty-free access in Bangladesh for 16 more products from Bhutan, including milk, natural honey, wheat, jams, fruit jellies, marmalades, and mineral water and carbonated water. This is in addition to the 18 products already receiving duty-free access in Bangladesh; and (ii) duty-free access in Bhutan for 100 products from Bangladesh, including garments, processed agricultural goods and electronics.
In a report by Kuensel, Prime Minister Tshering lauded the immense support Bangladesh has always extended to Bhutan. He added that the memorandum of understanding on the use of inland waterways and riverine routes signed between the two countries during Prime Minister Hasina’s visit to Bhutan and the standard operating procedure he signed during his visit to Dhaka paved the way for promotion of trade routes. He expressed hope that the signing of the PTA catalyzes completion of the rest of the formalities. He also expressed gratitude for Bangladesh’s support in the establishment of the third international Internet gateway for Bhutan, which will ensure reliability and affordability of Bhutan’s internet and communications.