With focus on deciding the negotiation roadmap for India-Bangladesh Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), Bangladesh’s commerce minister Tipu Munshi will be on India visit next week. He will hold talks with Indian trade minister Piyush Goyal on 22nd and 23rd December during the visit. Both countries have already finalised a Joint Feasibility Study when it comes to CEPA.
The CEPA pact, when signed, will be the first major such accord Dhaka has with any big country in Asia. The India-Bangladesh joint statement issued after Bangladesh PM Hasina’s India visit earlier this year and meeting with PM Modi had a key emphasis on signing of the trade pact. The joint statement said that the leaders “directed trade officials on both sides to start negotiations within the calendar year 2022 and to complete these at the earliest, in time for Bangladesh’s final graduation from LDC status.”
Bangladesh is India’s biggest trade partner in South Asia and India is the second biggest trade partner of Bangladesh in Asia. Despite the disruptions due to Covid pandemic, bilateral trade grew at almost 44% from US$ 10.78 billion in FY 2020-21 to US$ 18.14 billion in FY 2021-22. India is also Bangladesh’s largest export destination in Asia.
During the Bangladesh trade minister’s visit, Dhaka’s focus will also be on getting more essential items like wheat from India. Amid the Russia-Ukraine conflict, prices of commodities globally have increased and New Delhi is reaching out to neighbours with supplies. To help low-income countries fight against price rise and shortage of foodstuff, India has exported more than 1.8 million tonnes of wheat to countries in need, including Afghanistan, Myanmar, Sudan, and Yemen.
Dhaka will also raise the issue of anti-dumping duties on Bangladesh’s jute and jute-made products. India had imposed an anti-dumping duty on Bangladesh jute in January 2017 which has been extended till 31st December this year.