Sri Lanka and Bangladesh successfully inked their second bilateral Joint Working Session on 23 September in Colombo. During the discussions both parties sought possibilities to further strengthen the trade agreements between them.
“I congratulate members of both teams for this successful effort. It is plainly evident now that you have had intensive discussions and preparations during these two days” said Rishad Bathiudeen, Minister of Industry and Commerce of Sri Lanka on the eve of 23 September in Colombo.
Minister Bathiudeen was addressing the beaming six member Bangladeshi official trade delegation led by Manoj Kumar Roy, Additional Secretary (FTA), Ministry of Commerce of Bangladesh on 23 September at the concluding session of two day bilateral sessions at the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, Colombo 3.
On the occasion, the mutually agreed minutes were inked by RDS Kumararatne, DG-Department of Commerce of Sri Lanka and Bangladeshi Additional Secretary Kumar Roy in the presence of Minister Bathiudeen. Sri Lanka’s leading exports to Bangladesh in 2013 were apparel (cotton, fabrics, Narrow woven fabrics and other articles of apparel) and enzymes. Leading imports from Bangladesh in 2013 were medicaments, apparel, electric accumulators, and potatoes.
“I congratulate members of both delegations for this successful effort. It is plainly evident that you have had intensive discussions and work during these two days” said Minister Bathiudeen.
“We have had strong progress during these two days. We thank you for the levels of support we received. There is no doubts whatsoever that both countries will be renewing trade in a big way” said Bangladeshi Additional Secretary Kumar Roy, responding to Minister Bathiudeen.
If Bangladesh-Sri Lanka FTA is realised, it will be the first ever FTA for Bangladesh, whose GDP stands at $140B. As for Sri Lanka, it would open a single entry point for an important regional economic corridor-the BCIM economic corridor (Bangladesh, China, India, and Myanmar corridor) - giving it the much needed strategic trade connectivity to Myanmar, Eastern Indian ‘continent’ and more importantly, a faster jump-off point to the ASEAN markets.
In the Joint Statement issued by the leaders of both countries during the State visit of President Mahinda Rajapaksa to Bangladesh from 18 – 20 April, 2011, the need of enhancing bi-lateral trade relations between the two countries was emphasized.
The first meeting of the Bangladesh-Sri Lanka Joint Working Group (JWG) on Trade was held in Dhaka in February 2014.