The proposed trade agreement aims at promoting two-way commerce and investments

The Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement which is under active discussion of the governments of India and Bangladesh will be a game changer for bilateral trade partnership, Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Vikram Doraiswami has said.

Addressing a virtual conference and India-Bangladesh Trade Fair on Agri Products on Wednesday, Doraiswami highlighted Duty Free Quota Free market access available to Bangladesh products under SAFTA since 2011.

He added that the vast consumer market of India offers enormous opportunities for the quality food products from Bangladesh and in this context underscored the importance of linkages between the trade bodies.

Referring to Bangladesh’s imminent graduation from UN’s Least Developed Country Category (LDC) in the year 2026, Doraiswami emphasized that post LDC graduation, the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, which is under active discussion of both the governments, will be a game changer for bilateral trade partnership.

He also emphasized the importance of finalizing reciprocal arrangements with regard to food safety standards and rapid upgradation of logistics to enhance such trade.

Wednesday’s conference and trade fair was jointly organised by Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) in association with Bangladesh Fresh Fruits Importers Association and India Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce.

The meet that focused on India – Bangladesh trade in agricultural and processed food products, brought together key stakeholders from respective trade bodies and Governments on a common platform for strengthening strategic cooperation between India and Bangladesh in the Agri Food Sector.

Speaking at the conference, Chairman of the Bangladesh Land Port Authority, Md. Alamgir, highlighted that Bangladesh government is in the process of phased development and upgradation of land ports worth BDT 1.5 billion and starting with ports at Benapole, Sutarkandi, Belonia and Ramgarh.

Alamgir added land port authorities of both the countries are committed for seamless operation, passenger facilitation and timely handling of goods for the benefit of business community.

President of India Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IBCCI) Abdul Matlub Ahmad, underscored that World Bank reports suggests that seamless transport connectivity between India and Bangladesh has the potential to significantly increase national incomes on both sides.

Ahmad urged the multilateral donors and private sector to invest in the development of ICDs, cold storages and warehousing facilities at the Land Custom Stations. Infrastructure both digital and physical, will benefit traders and business community.

During the Conference, an E-Catalogue for the Virtual Buyer Seller Meet was released followed by Virtual Trade Fair B2B meeting and interaction between exporters and importers.

The event saw participation of more than 200 businesses from both the countries.

According to the joint statement issued after a virtual summit between the two leaders in December 2020, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bangladeshi PM Sheikh Hasina had directed officials to expeditiously conclude the ongoing joint study on the prospects of the two countries entering into a bilateral Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA).

During the Indian Prime Minister’s official visit to Bangladesh on March 26-27 the two countries reiterated the conclusion of the ongoing joint study on CEPA.

The proposed trade agreement aims at promoting two-way commerce and investments between the two neighbours.