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Dhaka Tribune

Bangladesh, Australia ink trade and investment framework

The TIFA expects to address questions on trade and investment between Dhaka and Canberra

Update : 15 Sep 2021, 05:54 PM

Bangladesh and Australia on Wednesday inked a framework on trade and investment with the aim of enhancing economic cooperation between the two countries.

Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi and his Australian counterpart Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Dan Tehan signed the agreement on behalf of their respective countries in a virtual ceremony.

The Trade and Investment Framework Arrangement (TIFA), the first of this kind between Australia and Bangladesh in the last five decades, is expected to provide a platform for institutionalized economic interaction and to open newer opportunities for trade and investment between the two countries. 

A joint working group will be formed under the TIFA, with due representation from relevant sectors and sub-sectors. The JWG is expected to offer a mechanism to take forward discussion to realize the full potential of trade and investment.

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Speaking on the occasion, Tipu Munshi hoped that the TIFA would address all relevant questions, including retention of the DFQF treatment for Bangladesh in the post LDC graduation, trade liberalization, creating conducive atmosphere for greater trade in services and flow of investment.

“The Morrison Government is working to energize and expand the trade and investment relationship between Australia and Bangladesh, to support jobs and business opportunities in both countries,” Tehan said. 

He assured Bangladesh of the continuation of DFQF treatment pending the next review, which is not scheduled in the foreseeable future. 

“Australia has the potential to meet Bangladesh’s increasing education, training, and energy needs. We offer world class expertise in agriculture and infrastructure development,” he added. 

Also Read- OP-ED: Bangladesh and its emerging economy

Bangladesh-Australia bilateral trade has grown six times over the past decade, reaching A$2.6 billion last year. RMG, agriculture, food and education services were key drivers of this growth. 

Despite not being an elaborate and legally binding agreement, the TIFA can help add new tradeable items from both sides and facilitate bilateral trade and investment. Australia proposed to host the inaugural meeting of the JWG in early 2022.

Bangladesh High Commissioner to Australia Sufiur Rahman and Australian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Jeremy Bruer also spoke at the event. 

High Commissioner Rahman said Australia can utilize Bangladesh as one of its major suppliers of manufactured goods. 

“Australia can see Bangladesh as the entry point to a sub-regional market of over 300 million people,” he said.

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