Dhaka, Aug 28 (UNB) – Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi on Wednesday said he is optimistic about signing a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR) to boost trade.
“There’s possibility of an increase in export of readymade garment products, tobacco, leather and leather goods, among others, when the agreement brings down 35 percent high interest rate,” the minister told the media at the Secretariat.
Munshi had led a 15-member delegation to MERCOSUR member states (Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay) from August 20-24.
The team included the Bangladesh ambassador to Brazil, President of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) Rubana Huq, BKMEA representatives, pharmaceutical industry representatives, and business leaders of Dhaka Chamber of Commerce.
“Our main goal was to get the support of MERCOSUR members for the FTA and improve commerce and investment,” he said.
The minister said Bangladesh proposed signing the FTA at a seminar in Sao Paola. “The participating countries welcomed the proposal and proposed starting technical discussion,” he said.
Munshi said MERCOSUR members will discuss Bangladesh’s proposals in December and take a decision. “We’re optimistic about a positive outcome,” he said.
The minister also requested the government of Brazil to cut the taxation rate or withdraw it. The high tax rate is preventing Bangladesh from exporting the expected amount of RMG products to Brazil.
During the visit, he said they urged investors to invest in Bangladesh and drew their attention to various investment-friendly policies here.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between BGMEA and Sao Paulo Chamber of Commerce in Sao Paulo, Brazil, he said.
Besides, a decision was taken to sign a MoU between BGMEA and the Brazilian Cotton Producers Association. Brazil assured to consider withdrawing the anti-dumping duty on jute goods into Brazil, he said.
A fashion show and Single Country RMG Exhibition, organised by BGMEA, will be held in November in Brazil, he added. A fair will be held in Brazil on November 7-8 for boosting business and investment between Bangladesh and Brazil.
The Uruguayan government has shown interest to sign a MoU with FBCCI and Uruguay’s top chamber. It is keen to sign agreement in visa exemption, Cultural Cooperation Agreement and Agreement on Avoidance of Double Taxation.