The government will sign a preferential trade agreement (PTA) with Nepal within a short time in order to improve bilateral trade, said Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi yesterday.
"Discussion is underway with more countries regarding the signing of trade agreements. This will be beneficial for us in the long term although it may not appear advantageous for the time being," he said.
Munishi shared the info at the inauguration of the campus of Bangladesh Institute of Plastic Engineering and Technology in Dhaka's Keraniganj, according to a press release.
The event was jointly organised by the institute and Bangladesh Plastic Goods Manufacturers and Exporters Association. The development came more than a month after Bangladesh inked a PTA with Bhutan to safeguard the trade benefit after graduation from the least developed country status in 2024.
The commerce ministry is negotiating with 11 other countries and trade blocs like Australia, Japan and Canada for PTA with the aim to secure market access after Bangladesh's LDC graduation.
Dhaka demanded zero-duty entry for 140 products to Kathmandu in October last year.
Munshi stressed the need for improvement of efficiency and quality of products to compete in the global market.
He said plastic industry has huge potential and demand for plastic goods is increasing day by day.
"We have to tap this opportunity. There is a big market for plastic products. We have to gain increased market share by providing quality and improving design and efficiency," he said.
The government is providing support for the development of plastic goods manufacturing industry.
Munshi said Bangladesh once imported plastic goods to meet requirement for export oriented garments industries.
Now plastic goods are exported after meeting local demand, he said.