Transit, Tifa await cabinet approval
Proposals for the 'Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (Tifa)' with the US and transit with India are lying before the cabinet for approval.
"The cabinet will take decisions on the issues considering whether these will serve the best interest of people or not," said Commerce Minister Faruq Khan at the monthly meeting of the American Chamber of Commerce in Bangladesh (AmCham) at Dhaka Sheraton Hotel yesterday.
The assistant secretary of the United States and the foreign minister of India will visit Bangladesh soon. Whether any agreement will be signed or not on the transit and the TIFA during their visits cannot be said at the moment, he told the journalists in response to queries.
Bangladesh has excellent relationship with the USA and India, the minister also said.
Replying to a query raised by former AmCham President Aftabul Islam, Faruq Khan said all the relevant aspects like inclusion of Nepal and Bhutan in the transit would be taken into consideration during the talks with Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee.
He also said, "The transit proposal was mooted in 1978 when General Ziaur Rahman was president. An agreement was signed between the then Indian Commerce Minister Pranab Mukherjee and former state minister for commerce of Bangladesh Chowdhury Tanbir Ahmed Siddiqui."
According to the agreement, the proposal for establishing rail, road and waterways between the two countries was made. Both AL and BNP governments came to power after 1978, accorded it.
The last BNP government approved the agreement on March, 2006, Faruq Khan said.
AmCham President Syed Ershad Ahmed presided over the function while US Ambassador James F Moriarty was present as the special guest.