February 09, 2004


The group of economic cooperation consisting of Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand (BIMSTEC) has recently signed a free trade agreement between six countries. The group has included Nepal and Bhutan and Bangladesh decided to stay out of the treaty.

The reason behind Bangladesh's dithering is that it insisted on including a clause that would compensate Dhaka for the losses it is likely to suffer because of lower import duties on manufacturing. Sources said Bangladesh's tactics did not go down well with the other countries, particularly India, Sri Lanka and Thailand. However, the others decided to go ahead with the pact.

Bangladesh said it would sign later after compensation issues were sorted out and cabinet approved the agreement. Read more here.

Well I don't have anything to say if its true. But I have heard from somewhere that there is a propaganda of the present government that the past government (Awami League) tried to flood Bangladesh with cheap Indian goods in shadow of this treaty. Apart from the political hogwash, Bangladesh has the right to protect its own growing manufacturing industry. But the govt. has to take measures diplomatically so that the honest efforts are not maligned politically.

The free trade pact, if implemented, would span South Asia, which has a population of more than 1.3 billion and Southeast Asia, home to 500 million people. The seven members of the regional economic cooperation group have a combined gross domestic product of more than $700 billion.


Post a Comment