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First joint feasibility study meeting likely this month

A joint feasibility study meeting on a possible bilateral free trade agreement between Bangladesh China is likely to be held this month in Beijing to identify the benefits and impacts that might accrue from the FTA.The Chinese authorities have recently sent a letter to Bangladesh government attaching terms of reference and outline of the joint feasibility studies on possible FTA in accordance with memorandum of understanding signed between the two countries during the visit of Chinese president Xi Jinping in October last year.According to the terms of reference provided by the Chinese commerce ministry, the working groups of two countries would study trade in goods and services, and investment and technical cooperation to identify the possible impact of FTA.Seeking feedback from the commerce ministry of Bangladesh on the terms of reference, China expected to complete the joint feasibility study by the end of 2018.‘It is supposed to hold the first meeting on the joint feasibility study on Bangladesh-China FTA in this month, but we are yet to finalise the date,’ the commerce ministry additional secretary Md Shafiqul Islam told New Age on Tuesday.He said that the ministry would prepare the terms of reference for the meeting within a short time and the date of the joint meeting would be finalised through discussion between the two sides.‘Now commerce secretary Shubhashish Bose is travelling abroad and we will start work on the joint feasibility study meeting on possible bilateral FTA after his return home,’ Shafiqul, also the co-chair of the working group, said. He said that Bangladesh would move forward carefully as China is a big country and Bangladesh’s import is huge from that country.‘Along with the trade in goods and services, we would emphasise on investment issue to protect the interest of Bangladesh,’ Shafiqul said.He also said that before the first joint feasibility study meeting, a discussion between officials of the two sides would be held to finalise the terms of reference and outline of the meeting.According to the data, Bangladesh’s yearly imports from China is worth around $10 billion while exports to that country is worth about $950 million.


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