The Union Minister of Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation, Suresh Prabhu, said that the economic growth of Bangladesh is a model that could be emulated by other Least Developed Countries in the region. He congratulated the Government of Bangladesh led by Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina, for the rapid strides made in the areas of economic growth, poverty eradication, and social and human development. He was speaking at a discussion on India-Bangladesh trade relations organized by the Bangladesh Ministry of Commerce in Dhaka yesterday.
He noted that after Bangladesh graduates from the Least Developed Country Status it would no longer have duty-free and quota-free access to the Indian market under SAFTA. In view of this, he proposed that India and Bangladesh may consider signing a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) which would trade in goods and services and investments. Underlining the potential of jute as a natural and environment-friendly fiber, he suggested that a Joint Business Group could examine the issues related to this sector.
Suresh Prabhu further stated that he was looking forward to developing a roadmap for resolving trade-related issues in his meeting with the Commerce Minister of Bangladesh today. He also spoke about other issues like upgradation of infrastructure of Land Customs Stations for easing the flow of goods and people. Suresh Prabhu, who earlier held the portfolio for Railways in the Government of India, also said that the two countries may consider the possibility of cooperation in connecting Dhaka with rest of Bangladesh through broad gauge railway lines.
The Commerce Minister elaborated about the number of initiatives being taken by Government of India like doubling of farmers’ income, promoting agricultural exports,new industrial policy, identifying and supporting emerging sectors, positioning India in global value chains; a long-term holistic logistics policy, district-led growth and improvement of ease of doing business, geographical indicators and the target of making India a USD 5 trillion economy in the next 7-8 years.
He offered to partner and share experiences and best practices from these initiatives with Bangladesh.
Suresh Prabhu thanked the Commerce Minister of Bangladesh, Tofail Ahmed, for playing an important role in resolving issues and strengthening multilateralism in the global trading system. He called for continued cooperation of India and Bangladesh to make World Trade Organization a stronger body and support global trade.