Bangladesh has sought duty-free, quota-free (DFQF) market access to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and other countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
The request was made during the 4th Bangladesh-UAE Joint Commission meeting held in Abu Dhabi February 5-6. State Minister for Finance and Planning MA Mannan and UAE State Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr Anwar Gargash led their respective sides in the meet.
"Bangladesh made the request to UAE as it has been enjoying the duty-free and quota-free facility in over 38 countries including in EU and Australia," an official at the Economic Relations Division (ERD) told journalists.
In response, the official said, the UAE told Bangladesh to send a proposal to the GCC secretariat through diplomatic channels while seeking UAE support in this regard, reports BSS.
During the meeting, both sides agreed to activate the MoU and establish a Joint Business Council in order to facilitate the exchange of business delegations between the two countries and increase the volume of trade.
Asked about the outcome of the Joint Commission meeting, State Minister for Finance and Planning MA Mannan told that both the countries have agreed to further boost the two-way trade volume through addressing any barrier if arises.
He also expressed his optimism that UAE would extend support to Bangladesh for getting duty and quota free access of Bangladeshi products into UAE market.
Both sides recognized ICT as a priority sector where opportunities need to be explored and agreed to explore the opportunities of investing in the tourism industry.
The ERD official said both sides agreed to increase the volume of trade through diversification and expansion of trade cooperation between the two countries through the exchange of information on trade and investment-related topics on a constant basis, organizing exhibition in both countries to promote exports and investment programmes.
The Bangladesh side proposed to update the trade agreement signed in 1984 and explore the areas for further cooperation in the field of trade and commerce. In response, UAE requested Bangladesh to send an amended protocol on the agreement for consideration through diplomatic channels.
UAE also welcomed the pharmaceuticals products of Bangladesh into its market since Bangladesh is exporting quality medicine to more than 120 countries at a very competitive price.
The Bangladesh government will send a delegation to the UAE for consulting the Ministry of Health and to explore ways of facilitating access to Bangladeshi pharmaceutical products.
Besides, both the countries agreed to establish effective liaison between the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) and the equivalent Authority of the UAE to share investment-related information, furnish names and addresses of the UAE companies with their areas interest, exchange investment delegation.
The two-way trade between Bangladesh and UAE has increased over the years as Bangladesh exported goods worth $293.04 million to UAE in FY15 against the imports of $838.14 million. In FY06, Bangladesh exported goods worth $39.30 million to UAE against the imports of $400.08 million.
The 3rd Joint Commission meeting between the two countries was held in 2009 in Abu Dhabi after a gap of long 18 years when the 2nd Joint Commission meeting was held in Dhaka in 1991. The maiden Joint Commission meeting was held in 1981 in Abu Dhabi.