Dhaka Okays FTA Proposal

New Delhi, May 22: | Updated: May 23 2003, 05:30am hrs
Bangladesh has agreed in principle to Indias proposal for a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) to boost economic cooperation and overcome existing problems of tariff and non-tariff barriers.

This was conveyed by visiting Bangladesh finance and planning minister Saifur Rahman during talks with external affairs minister Yashwant Sinha. Mr Rahman also called on Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

Both the countries are also examining a proposal to introduce a bus service connecting Agartala and Dhaka and a train service between Agartala and Akhoura to promote people-to-people contacts between the two countries.

The issue came up for a thorough discussion between the visiting dignitary and Mr Sinha. The two countries have been successfully running a bus service between Kolkata and Dhaka.

Briefing mediapersons, an external affairs ministry spokesman said the two ministers also discussed ways and means for improving the rail and road infrastructure, particularly in terms of improving the storage facilities. The Bangladesh minister also suggested an easy access for Bangladeshi trucks into India.

They felt that the joint economic commission between the two countries must meet more regularly. The next meeting of the commission will be held in July.