India, Bangladesh hold discussions on joint study for proposed free trade pact

India and Bangladesh on Thursday held discussions on a joint study for the proposed free trade agreement and harmonisation of standards with a view to boost two-way commerce, the government said on Thursday.

“Both sides held extensive discussions on a variety of issues of mutual interest, like Border Haats, joint study for the proposed Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), CEOs” Forum, sharing of trade data, regional connectivity initiatives, harmonization of standards, upgradation of border trading infrastructure and facilitation of business visas,” the commerce ministry said in a statement.

The CEPA is a free trade agreement under which two trading partners significantly reduce or eliminate imports duties on maximum number of goods traded between them. They also liberalise norms to promote trade in services sector and boost investments.

Before initiating formal negotiations for such pacts, trading partners undertake a joint study to see the potential benefits of such agreements.

The two-day commerce secretary level meeting between the two sides was concluded here on Thursday.

The meeting, it said, was preceded by the 12th meeting of the Joint Working Group on trade.

In a separate statement, the ministry said that the first session of India-Norway dialogue on trade and investment was convened here.

Both the sides discussed issues of various areas like blue economy, shipping and maritime, ICT, renewable energy and the micro, small and medium enterprises.

“Both the sides exchanged views on investment opportunities available in the respective countries,” it said.

The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) highlighted various policy initiatives of the government for promoting investment in the country.

Cumulative FDI equity inflows to India from Norway during April 2000 to September 2019 were around USD 257 million.