Dhaka, Thimphu agree to work on DF, QF access of products
Bangladesh and Bhutan on Sunday agreed in principle to work on allowing quota free (QF) and duty free (DF) access of a number of their products to each other’s market for the mutual interests.
“Bhutan has sought duty and quota free access of its 16 products to Bangladesh market, while Bangladesh has sought such access of its 10 goods to Bhutanese market during the official talks of the two countries held today,” Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque said while briefing reporters after the talks at the Prime Minister’s Office in the capital this morning.
PM’s Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim was present at the briefing, BSS reports.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina led the Bangladesh side at the talks, while the Bhutanese delegation was led by visiting Bhutanese Premier Dr Lotay Tshering.
The foreign secretary quoted Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina as saying during the talks she will consider the matter of duty and quota free access of 16 Bhutanese products to Bangladesh market.
“A positive discussion was held at on Sunday's talks and it’s hoped that it will be done as the issue is in the discussion for a long time,” Haque said.
The issue, he said, was also discussed when the prime minister visited Bhutan.
The foreign secretary noted that the prime minister also said the issue of discussion on duty free and quota free access of 10 Bangladeshi products will take place soon. “We assume that both sides agreed in principle and now it has to be worked out at the technical level,” he said.
Haque said the issues related to trade, business, connectivity and health have been given priority in the talks.
In the field of transit, he said, there is a big initiative in the region which is called Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) initiative for road and rail connectivity.
The foreign secretary said though all countries signed the agreement, it is yet to be ratified by Bhutan parliament. “The new Bhutan government said the bill regarding the initiative will be placed afresh at its Upper Senate for discussion and they are very much hopeful of passage of the bill,” he said.
The connectivity between the four countries will be strengthened further if the bill is passed by the Bhutan parliament, he said.