Bangladesh seeks to sign a free trade agreement (FTA) with Turkey to boost bilateral trade and investment. A high-powered Bangladesh delegation headed by an additional secretary of the ministry will be in Turkey early August seeking to increase bilateral trade and investment between the two countries. They would be negotiation over signing of a FTA with Turkey for mutual benefits.
The Ministry of Commerce (MoC) decided to send a pamphlet on the proposed FTA to the government of Turkey through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs so that they could take preparation for talks.
The two sides will discuss customs procedures, trade facilities, investment opportunities, standardisation of products, and sanitation securities for trade between the two countries.
Earlier, the Bangladesh-Turkey Joint Commission for Trade, Economic and Technical Cooperation was held in Dhaka in November, 2012. During the Joint Commission meeting, the two countries put emphasis on importance of expansion of bilateral trade between two countries up to US$3 billion by 2015.
The two countries are also members of the Developing Eight (D-8). That could help both the sides to move forward for signing FTA as early as possible.
The bilateral trade between the two countries could easily reach $3 billion by 2015 if the Turkish entrepreneurs invest in renewable energy, infrastructure, tourism and pharmaceuticals in Bangladesh. The signing of the FTA with Turkey has great importance for Bangladesh in terms of trade gains.
There is a huge demand for jute, jute goods and readymade garments (RMG) from Bangladesh to Turkey. Bangladesh imports cotton, LNG, capital machinery, textile processing raw materials (chemicals) and petroleum products.
Turkey is also one of the main competitors of Bangladesh in the global apparel business. But it (Turkey) is also a major market for Bangladeshi apparels.
The imposition of extra 17 percent duty on imports from Bangladesh to Turkey will also be discussed during the upcoming official meeting of the two countries.
According to Turkey, the duty was imposed as a safeguard for their local industries and it is not only imposed in case of Bangladeshi exports, but also on other countries.
Bangladesh exported $124 million knitwear products and woven items worth $231 million to Turkey in the fiscal year (FY) 2011-12. The sales of knitwear items stood at $272 million and woven items $245 million respectively in FY 2010-11, according to the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB).
The two-way trade between Bangladesh and Turkey is now over $1 billion. The main hurdle of signing the FTA between Bangladesh and Turkey is that it needs permission from the European Customs Union.
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