Wednesday, March 29, 2023

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Bangladesh and Sri Lanka prioritize concluding PTA

Bangladesh and Sri Lanka will soon enter into a Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) following the decision to expedite negotiations and clonclude it shortly, official sources said.

The two countries have decided to accord priority to conclude talks on a Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA), a senior official who is closely connected to negotiations disclosed.

Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner in Bangladesh Prof.Sudharshan Seneviratne accompanied by First Secretary/Commerce Srimali Jayarathne held a meeting with the newly appointed President of the Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) Sameer Sattar at the DCCI office in Dhaka.

DCCI President Sameer Sattar appreciated the positive growth of bilateral economic cooperation between the countries during the past five years.

He further emphasized the importance of exchanging technical know-how in the areas of Seaport Management, Infrastructure.

The DCCI is having positive hopes for the Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) which is under negotiation between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

The President of DCCI pledged continuous support to arrange B2Bs and seminars, and organize other related activities in order to promote bilateral economic relations between the two countries.

The High Commissioner said concluding the ongoing PTA between the two countries, promoting tourism sector cooperation and attracting Bangladesh investments to Sri Lanka are the key priorities to promote economic cooperation.

He further proposed collaboration in the IT sector, shipping, parallel development of deep-sea ports like Trincomalee, Hambantota, and Matabari, and cooperation in the fields of Education, Agriculture, and Pharmaceuticals.

He also invited DCCI to explore the investment opportunities available in the Colombo Port City Project. The High Commissioner also underscored the strategic importance of the Bay of Bengal and the opportunities available to promote the Blue Economy.

If tariffs on the sensitive lists are eliminated, there will be modest export gains for Bangladesh and Sri Lanka in absolute terms. Sri Lanka will gain USD 24.7 to 49.7 million of exports to Bangladesh, while Bangladesh will gain USD 2.1 to 4.5 million of exports to Sri Lanka. Potential export gains are given in a range due to assumptions on elasticity values used in the partial equilibrium model.

Elimination of sensitive lists will generate a higher tariff revenue loss to Bangladesh, ranging between USD 13.5 million to USD 19.1 million. By contrast, Sri Lanka’s revenue loss will be slight at USD 1.4 million to USD 1.9 million

The current trade deals between the two countries are still partially restrictive. Both countries keep a sensitive list of products that are not eligible for tariff cuts.

Sri Lanka maintains a list of 925 products sanctioned by SAFTA (South Asian Free Trade Area) while Bangladesh keeps 993 products. Sri Lanka’s sensitive list covers USD 6.2 million or 23.8% of imports from Bangladesh. The sensitive list of Bangladesh covers USD 77.6 million or 62% of imports from Sri Lanka.

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