Preferential trade deal with Nepal soon
The government will sign a preferential trade agreement (PTA) with Nepal soon to boost trade between the two South Asian nations, Commerce Secretary Tapan Kanti Ghosh said yesterday.
Bangladesh and Nepal have many things in common and both of them are going to be graduated from the least developed country category in 2026, he said.
The commerce secretary is hopeful that the PTA will be signed soon after getting final nod from the Nepalese side.
Ghosh made the comments at a business networking meeting between the leaders of the Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) and the visiting business delegation of the Confederation of Nepalese Industries (CNI), Nepal.
The meeting took place on the premises of the DCCI in the capital.
The 13-member CNI delegation came to Dhaka on December 13 and will leave for Nepal on December 16, the DCCI said in a statement.
Bangladesh is a very big market with a huge consumer base especially in the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) sector and Bangladesh has to import a large quantity of consumer items like edible oil, lentil and sugar, the commerce secretary said.
He also urged Nepali businessmen to take benefit of this opportunity.
He also termed that the memorandum of cooperation (MoC) signed between the DCCI and the CNI at the meeting is a milestone for bilateral trade and commerce.
Rizwan Rahman, DCCI president, chaired the networking meeting where he and Vishnu Kumar Agarwal, CNI president, signed the MoC on behalf of their organisations.
The balance of trade between the two countries stood at around $73.47 million in 2020-21 fiscal year where the balance was tilted towards Bangladesh.
Garment, pharmaceuticals, agro-food processing, jute goods, IT-enabled services, light engineering and electronics have great investment and trade potential as Nepal is one of the preferred investment destinations for Bangladesh, Rahman said.
"Nepal can invest in our agro-processing tourism, financial sectors and special economic zones."
He also urged Nepal to consider the Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal (BBIN) connectivity deal to exploit economic opportunities present in Bangladesh.
Bangladesh's economic progress is quite good according to the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, said Kumar Rai, charge d' affairs of embassy of Nepal in Bangladesh.
He appreciated the Bangladesh government's long-term plan to reap the benefits of blue economy and high-tech industries.
Nepal has the highest peak in the world and Bangladesh has the longest sea beach in the world. Therefore tourism can be a promising sector of mutual preferences, Rai said.
The CNI president Agarwal said agriculture, tourism, energy, education and IT sector are some of the potential sectors, where entrepreneurs of both the countries can be benefitted.
Nepal is now giving priorities to its transformation from trading led economy to manufacturing based economy, he said.
So, this move will create an immense opportunity for huge investments. Moreover, exchange of delegation will foster bilateral trade, he said.
Nirvana Chaudhary, vice president of CNI, said they have already invested in Bangladesh's FMCG industry and they have a plan to invest in beverage and hospitality sectors in future.
He also termed Bangladesh as a preferable destination for investment thanks to the presence of friendly incentives and policies. "Bangladesh is an important market for us."
NKA Mobin, DCCI senior vice-president; Monowar Hossain, vice president, and other members of the board of directors of DCCI and CNI were also spoke.