To firm up the roadmap for negotiations on the India-Bangladesh Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), Bangladesh’s commerce minister Tipu Munshi is coming later this week.
During his two days visit starting December 22-23, he is expected to meet with his counterpart Minister of Commerce and Industry Trade Piyush Goyal. Financial Express Online has reported earlier that the two countries have already finalized a Joint Feasibility Study related to CEPA.
Importance of CEPA for India-Bangladesh
The two sides are keen to conclude the CEPA agreement as it is expected to help in boosting trade and investments between the two neighbours and more importantly it will help in enhancing trade in Eastern and North Eastern region.
In 2021, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi had visited Dhaka, the two sides had decided to conclude the Joint Feasibility Study related to the agreement fast.
Earlier this year in September, Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina met her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi in New Delhi and the focus was on various aspects of bilateral relations as well as deepening of cooperation in energy, food security, connectivity and more. The two leaders are keen to conclude CEPA as that could double India’s exports to neighbouring Bangladesh to over $32 billion.
Based on the information available in the public domain, so far India has exported almost $16.15 billion in FY2022. There has been an increase of almost 66 percent from $9.69 in the previous year, and this means Bangladesh is the fourth largest destination for India’s exports.
According to sources, during the forthcoming visit of the minister from the neighbouring country, formal negotiations will start. Once this agreement is in place, this will help in boosting trade and investments between the two countries especially in the Eastern and North Eastern Region.
Financial Express Online has reported earlier that in CEPA negotiations Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), investment, e commerce and trade in goods and services will be covered.
At the end of the bilateral meeting between the two leaders in New Delhi this year, the joint statement emphasized the signing of CEPA and it stated that leaders directed the trade officials on both sides to start negotiations within the calendar year of 2022. Both sides are keen to conclude the negotiations at the earliest just in time for Bangladesh’s final graduation from LDC status.
The focus of the visit will also be on getting more essential items including wheat from India when the minister arrives. Due to the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war which has led to prices of commodities going up globally, India has once again extended a helping hand to neighbouring countries with supplies.
So far India has extended supplies to low-income countries which are facing acute food shortage as well as fighting against price rise. So far India has exported more than 1.8 million tonnes of wheat to countries including Yemen, Afghanistan, Sudan and Myanmar.
The issue of anti-dumping duties on jute and jute-made products is likely to be raised by Dhaka later in the week. Anti-dumping duty on jute from that country has been imposed by India since January 2017 and this was extended till the end of this year.