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Dhaka to revive FTA talks with Ankara next month

Dhaka is set to revive FTA with Ankara that was put on hold for months following a diplomatic stand -off due to war crimes trial. A Turkish delegation comprising officials from its Ministry of Economy is scheduled to visit Bangladesh in March to discuss the proposed pact.

As per a senior Bangladesh trade official said that Turkish officials had invited them to visit Ankara for the talks but it was decided to host this round of negotiation in Dhaka. The last round of talks was held in Ankara. In mid-May last year, Turkish ambassador to Dhaka Devrim Öztürk left the country following execution of a Jamaat Islami leader Motiur Rahman Nizami. Before that, on several occasions Turkey strongly condemned the executions. However, the ambassador came back to Dhaka three months later in August last year.

Bangladesh is much positive about signing FTA deals with several countries including Turkey, Sri Lanka, South Africa, and Myanmar. If they can get duty-free access to Turkey, exports to the Eurasian country will increase manifold. Also, Bangladesh has reservation in signing FTA with China and India since a study by Bangladesh Tariff Commission has found opening up the market for these countries would be disastrous both in terms of revenue as well as local industries.

Dhaka had opted for signing FTA with Ankara following the imposition of 17 per cent additional duty on import of textile and garment items from Bangladesh in June 2012. Other Bangladeshi exports enjoy zero-duty benefit in the Turkish market.  Apparels account for over 75 per cent of Bangladesh's total exports to Turkey. Imposition of additional duty was a serious blow to Bangladesh's apparel export to Turkey.

 
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