Bangladesh as a least developed country has demanded duty-free and quota-free market access to China as per a provision of the World Trade Organisation.
‘Under the Asia Pacific Trade Agreement, 5,074 Bangladeshi products have been enjoying duty-free market access but as per WTO rules China can provide DFQF market access for at least 97 per cent of Bangladeshi products and we have sent a letter of exchange to avail the trade facility,’ commerce minister Tofail Ahmed said on Saturday.
The minister revealed this while briefing reporters at the commerce ministry in Bangladesh Secretariat after holding a meeting with Chinese ambassador Zhang Zuo.
‘We have sent a letter of exchange as China offered that if Bangladesh forgoes the existing benefits it is getting under APTA, the county would consider providing DFQF market access for 97 per cent of Bangladeshi products,’ Tofail said.
If China approves the letter of exchange, he said, Bangladesh will get DFQF market access to China as per the WTO rules, instead of APTA.
At the WTO’s Sixth Ministerial Conference in Hong Kong, China, the member countries agreed that developed country members of the WTO would provide DFQF market access for at least 97 per cent of products originating from the LDCs.
Tofail said that they had discussed about Free Trade Agreement between the two countries so that Bangladesh could get trade benefits in the market even after its graduation from being an LDC to a developing country.
‘No doubt, China is one of the biggest development partners of Bangladesh and we are going to implement some of the megaprojects, including Padma Bridge Rail Link Project and Karnaphuli River tunnel project, with Chinese funding,’ the minister said.
Ambassador Zuo said that China gives high priority to Bangladesh in the areas of trade and economy.
‘The two countries have already signed a memorandum of understanding for signing FTA and the relationship between Bangladesh and China would reach a new high in coming days with the signing of the FTA,’ he said.
Zuo said that China would continue its support to Bangladesh in implementing megaprojects.