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PTA with Bhutan: PM Hasina for constructing infrastructures to reap highest benefits

  • Published at 02:36 pm March 24th, 2021
Bhutanese Prime Minister Lotay Tshering
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Bhutanese Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering hold talks at the Prime Minister's Office on March 24, 2021. PID

The prime minister and her Bhutanese counterpart Lotay Tshering agree to activate the riverine routes to expand trade between the countries

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday emphasized constructing necessary infrastructures to reap the highest benefits from the Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) signed between Bangladesh and Bhutan.

She made the observation during a meeting with visiting Bhutanese Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering at her office in Dhaka.

Prime minister's Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim briefed reporters after the meeting.

He said that both the prime ministers discussed various fields of cooperation between the two countries, especially trade and connectivity.

Both of them agreed to activate the riverine routes so that trade between the two countries could be expanded.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina put emphasis on building more ports of call.

For establishing cooperation in the hydropower project, she asked for formulating bilateral or tripartite MoU in this regard.

The Bhutanese prime minister requested Sheikh Hasina to issue one time multiple full-term visa for their students who are studying in Bangladesh.

The Bangladeshi premier agreed upon the issue and asked the officials concerned for taking the necessary steps.

She also said that Bangladesh would cooperate with Bhutan in the ICT sector, especially providing broadband internet.

Both the leaders also agreed on working together in the UN and other forums.

Earlier, the two prime ministers also held a tête-à-tête for 45 minutes.

Foreign Minister Dr A K Abdul Momen, Principal Secretary Dr Ahmad Kaikaus, Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen, and Ambassador of Bangladesh to Bhutan AKM Shahidul Karim were present from Bangladesh's side.

Ambassador of Bhutan to Bangladesh Rinchen Kuentsyl and chief of protocol Daso Ugyen Gongphel were present among others during the meeting.

PTA between Bangladesh, Bhutan

Bangladesh on December 6, 2020, signed its maiden Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) with Bhutan to boost bilateral trade between the two countries.

The PTA with Bhutan is the first such bilateral preferential trade agreement Bangladesh signed with any country since independence in 1971.

Some 100 Bangladeshi products will get duty-free access in Bhutan. These include – baby clothes and clothing accessories, men's trousers and shorts, jackets, and blazers, jute and jute goods, leather and leather goods, dry cell battery, fan, watch, potato, condensed milk, cement, toothbrush, plywood, particleboard, mineral and carbonated water, green tea, orange juice, pineapple juice, and guava juice

Meanwhile, 34 Bhutanese products that will get duty-free access to the Bangladeshi market include – orange, apple, ginger, fruit juice, milk, natural honey, wheat or meslin flour, homogenized preparations of jams, fruit jellies, marmalades, food preparations of soybeans, mineral water, wheat bran, quartzite, cement clinker, limestone, wooden particle boards, and wooden furniture.