Bangladesh and India can derive immense benefits in trading services, said speakers at a meeting on Monday as the two neighbours are working on a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA).
The Bangladesh Foreign Trade Institute (BFTI), assigned to conduct Joint Feasibility Study on (CEPA) by the commerce ministry, virtually organized the second consultation meeting with the stakeholders.
The meeting focused on promoting services sectors including tourism and travel-related services, engineering services, IT and IT-Enabled Services, health-related services, construction services in Bangladesh.
Dr. Md. Jafar Uddin, Senior Secretary of Ministry of Commerce and the Chief Guest of the meeting said “Service is a vibrant driver of economic growth, employment generation, poverty elevation, and critical in sustaining export-driven growth”.
He noted that “the export-driven manufacturing sector reached a new height with an average 12.7% growth, supported by the greater role of modern service sector activities in areas of transport, banking, real estate, ICT and education”.
He pointed out that the service sector’s contribution to the country’s international trade is also growing and it could facilitate the growth of Total Factor Productivity (TFP) and become a key component for future growth acceleration.
Md. Obaidul Azam, Chief Executive Officer (In-charge) of BFTI chaired and moderated the event.
Md. Abdul Quaiyum, Sectoral Consultant of the Study presented the key-note paper.
Officials from public sectors, business leaders, academicians and representatives from different associations participated in the meeting as stakeholders.
They said that like manufactured products, many services can now be traded and Bangladesh should concentrate on this to reduce the trade deficit with India.
The stakeholders expected that the proposed CEPA agreement will enhance the basis for increasing trade in other services sectors for mutual interest and ease of doing business process for trade.
Md. Jashim Uddin, President of FBCCI, Mr. Rizwan Rahman, President of DCCI, Md. Shahidul Islam, Additional Secretary (FTA Wing) of Ministry of Commerce, Dr. Selim Raihan, Lead Consultant ofthe CEPA Study, Syed Almas Kabir, President of BASIS, Rahel Ahmed, CEO of Nagad,Eng. Rabiul Alam,Director & CEO of Energypac Engineering Ltd., Mohammad Hatem, 1st Vice President of BKMEA (R&D Dept), Jabed Ahmed, Chief Executive Officer of Bangladesh Tourism Board and Mr. Taufiq Rahman, Director of Tour Operators Association of Bangladesh (TOAB), etc. participated in the meeting.