Bangladesh is set to sign a preferential trade agreement (PTA) very soon with Indonesia, the fifth biggest economy of Asia, Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi said Sunday.
Indonesian Ambassador Heru Hartanto Subolo echoed the commerce minister’s optimism about the trade deal and said progress has been made in this regard during a courtesy call on at the ministry office at the Secretariat.
A trade negotiations committee, formed by both sides, is set to hold the fourth round of discussions next month in a bid to finalise negotiations.
Bangladesh at present has a huge trade deficit with Indonesia. In the 2021-22 fiscal year, Bangladesh imported around $2.5 billion worth of products from Indonesia, according to Bangladesh Bank data. Exports to the Southeast Asian country was worth only $78.5 million in the same period, as per Export Promotion Bureau.
Tipu Munshi called for increased access of Bangladeshi products including readymade garments, leather products and pharmaceutical products to the Indonesian market to reduce the huge trade deficit and balance the bilateral trade ties.
He also urged increased cooperation between businesses of both countries to identify lucrative areas of investment and expand trade opportunities.
Tipu Munshi emphasised signing a memorandum of understanding between apex trade bodies of both countries and the Indonesian ambassador agreed to assist in this regard.
The Indonesian ambassador lauded Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for leading Bangladesh in its journey to become a developing country from a least developed one, adding there are now huge investment opportunities in Bangladesh.
He expressed the wish of Indonesian investors to set up palm oil refining stations in Bangladesh.
Asked about easing the visa procurement process, Tipu Munshi said Bangladesh-Indonesia ties are very friendly and tourism prospects in both countries are also very bright.
“With the easing of the visa procurement process, people from both countries would be able to satiate their urge for travelling while also contributing to their national economies,” the minister added.
Source: TBS News