The countries reached the consensus at bilateral talks held last month between the top officials of the two governments, a ministry official confirmed Dhaka Tribune yesterday.
“We are going to form the joint trade commission with Cambodia to boost bilateral trade and commerce,” Senior Commerce Secretary Hedayetullah Al Mamoon said.
The trade commission is aimed at creating a win-win trade relationship between the businesses of the two countries while both the government and private sector people will be engaged in the process to have the dream come true, said Mamoon.
A note verbal detailing the purpose of joint trade commission has been prepared, which would be sent to Cambodia for consideration through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs by this week, the secretary added.
Focus would be given on removing trade barriers and easing the export-import process with the viable tariff rate, he added.
According to the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) data, Bangladesh’s export earnings from Cambodia was only $4.37 million in the last fiscal year 2015-16 while in the first seven months of the current fiscal year, the earning stood at $2.77 million.
Bilateral trade of the two countries is about $7 million.
Bangladesh’s main exports to Cambodia include garments, footwear and leather goods while Cambodia primarily exports cotton, cooking oil and fertiliser.
Bangladesh was close to settling its terms for a trade commission that would result in striking a bilateral trade agreement, ultimately dropping tariffs on potential imports, said Soeng Sophary, spokesperson for the Ministry of Commerce, reports The Phnom Penh Post.
“We have agreed on which products and items that Cambodia will allow Bangladesh to import and export tariff-free. That will be revealed when we will sign the agreement,” added Sophary.
“Both countries are dependent on the garment industry as the main driver of economic growth, and so we are looking at ways that trade can complement the growth of each other.”
The Cambodian Commerce Ministry spokesperson said they have already agreed in principle on a commission framework and is just awaiting the approval of their Bangladeshi counterparts.
“It is a good initiative for the export-oriented industry. I do believe, this will help increase bilateral trade,” Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin, senior vice-president of the Federation of Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) told the Dhaka Tribune.
He urged the government to keep in mind the tariff issues and duty-free market access.