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Dhaka Tribune

Commerce Secy: EPA to be signed with Japan by Dec 2025

  • Export growth to Japan was 45%, he says
  • MoU signed to enhance trade, investment
Update : 27 Dec 2023, 10:50 PM

Bangladesh will complete the signing of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with Japan, the world’s 3rd largest economy, by December 2025 to strengthen bilateral economic relations alongside availing duty-free market facilities to that country.

“Both the countries are also committed to signing the EPA within this timeframe,” said Commerce Ministry Senior Secretary Tapan Kanti Ghosh at a press conference held at the Ministry of Commerce at Bangladesh Secretariat on Wednesday.

The joint press conference was organized to mark the release of the joint study group report on the proposed Economic  Partnership Agreement (EPA) between Bangladesh and Japan.

Japanese Ambassador to Bangladesh IWAMA Kiminori spoke at the press conference.

Terming Japan as the world's third-largest economy and an important trade partner of Bangladesh, the senior commerce secretary said: “For the first time, we are going to sign such an economic agreement with a large economy. If the EPA is signed with Japan, we’ll not only get duty-free market facilities but also get foreign investment, and infrastructures suitable for industries and thus could join the global supply  chain.”

Regarding the final signing of the EPA with Japan, he said: “I  do not see any complications regarding the signing of the EPA. We are very much optimistic. Since we will graduate from the LDCs  in 2026, the EPA will be signed by December 2025 or January  2026.”

Tapan said since Japan has FTAs with many countries and has investments in many countries, the EPA will create new opportunities for Bangladesh to join the global supply chain.

He said Bangladesh has been enjoying duty-free facilities for exporting products to Japan and would continue to enjoy it till 2026.

“In the last year, our export growth to Japan was 45%, which was higher than any developed country,” he said

Apart from goods,  there is a potential to develop Bangladesh's relations with Japan in the services and investment sectors,” he said expressing high hope that if the EPA is signed, it would be possible to transform that possibility into a reality.

Tapan said that during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's visit to Japan in April this year, it was decided to upgrade the bilateral relations between the two countries a Strategic Partnership.

MoU was signed as a step to enhance trade, investment and economic cooperation between the two countries.

Later, another MoU was signed when the Minister of Commerce of Japan visited Bangladesh.

The commerce secretary said that the publication of the joint study group report does not mean that the work of the EPA is over.

 The two countries announced to conduct a joint feasibility study aimed at finalizing the EPA and thus a report was released today after three rounds of meetings.

In response to a question, Ambassador of Japan IWAMA Kiminori said that the EPA would create a win-win situation for both Bangladesh and Japan for trade expansion and economic development.

“We hope that EPA will play an important role in the development of an investment-friendly environment in Bangladesh in addition to boosting trade and investment,” he added.

The Japanese Ambassador also said that both the countries are preparing for signing of the EPA. “As Bangladesh will graduate from the LDCs in 2026, signing of the EPA should be completed before this,” he added.

It should be noted that both countries have jointly identified 17 sectors as areas of economic cooperation to implement the proposed EPA.

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