Bangladesh wants to strengthen bilateral ties with Iran focusing on trade and business, said official sources.
The governments are likely sign a trade agreement and a number of memorandums of understanding at Joint Economic Council Meeting in May in Tehran to boost bilateral relations.
Bangladesh and Iran signed an MoU on signing a bilateral trade agreement at the meeting held in 2013.
Besides, there is a preferential trade agreement signed in 2006 between the two countries which has remained not functional for last nine years.
The proposed joint council deal is expected to increase Bangladesh’s export to Iran as the latter has good demand of jute and jute goods.
“Bangladesh government also plans to provide some trade facilities to exporters to Iran. The issue will be discussed with the Iranian authorities,” said an official.
Senior commerce secretary Hedayetullah Al Mamoon said Bangladesh Tariff Commission (BTC) has already evaluated cost and benefits of the proposed trade deal with Iran.
He, however, is not sure that the deal will be signed in the next Joint Economic Council Meeting.
Of the MoUs, an MoU will be signed on the import of wheat from Iran, officials said. An MoU on agriculture sector signed at the 2013 meeting will be extended till 2020.
About the PTA, officials said the countries have failed to settle dispute of rules of origin of products in last nine years of signing of the agreement, which has kept it non-functional.
Meanwhile, Iran asked Bangladesh to regularly pay instalments of a loan taken from the country in the 1980s.
An ERD letter sent to foreign affairs ministry recently cited the development.
Bangladesh took the loan to construct Ashuganj Fertiliser and Chemical Company Ltd, but later faced problems to continue repayment of instalments after the sanction was imposed on Iran in 2006.