A report published in the The Daily Star stated that the Indian Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu and Bangladesh’s Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed announced the signing of the deal at a joint Press conference after a delegation meeting between the two countries in Dhaka.
They, however, did not mention any specific date for the inking of the trade deal. The report further quoted Ahmed as saying in a Press conference, “We will sign the CEPA for continuation of duty benefit on export to India even after graduation from the least developed country bracket to a developing one in 2027.” Currently, Bangladesh as an LDC enjoys zero-duty benefit on exports to India for all goods save for 25 alcoholic beverage items.
Trade analysts said Bangladesh stands to benefit from the deal if it is negotiated carefully. The CEPA is a greater partnership deal between two countries or with any trade bloc, under which special treatment is considered in areas of trade, investment, energy cooperation, logistic support and so on.
For instance, there is a possibility of more Indian investment in Bangladesh, more energy cooperation and aid for trade between the two countries under the CEPA deal as it is considered as a greater partnership, said Mustafizur Rahman, distinguished fellow of the Centre for Policy Dialogue.
Under the partnership agreement, both countries will work towards improving the logistic and trade-related capacities of Bangladesh. “In this case, both countries will have to recognise their economic differences,” Rahman said, adding that the duty-free export of goods from Bangladesh to India will have to continue even after signing the CEPA.
The CEPA might not affect the local industries as it is a partnership deal only, said Ahsan H Mansur, Executive Director of the Policy Research Institute, another think-tank. Prabhu has assured that the Indian Government will work on lifting the anti-dumping duty on the export of jute and jute goods to India.