The proposed Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with India will enhance the basis for increasing trade in services sectors for mutual interest and ease of doing business process for trade.
Experts came up with the hope at the second stakeholder consultation meeting of the joint feasibility study on CEPA between Bangladesh and India on 31 May, organised virtually by Bangladesh Foreign Trade Institute (BFTI) who has been assigned to conduct the study by the commerce ministry, says a press release.
The BFTI organised the meeting as part of the study being conducted to facilitate the bilateral trade between Bangladesh and India.
Drawing attention to mutual cooperation for building human capital, 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, etc. in Bangladesh.
As the chief guest of the meeting, Dr Md Jafar Uddin, senior secretary of commerce ministry, said, "Service is a vibrant driver of economic growth, employment generation, poverty elevation, and critical in sustaining export-driven growth."
He further said, "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."
Md Obaidul Azam, chief executive officer (In-charge), BFTI chaired and moderated the event.
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 Abdul Quaiyum, a consultant of the study, presented the key-note at the meeting.
Stakeholders from a number of sectors provided pragmatic input and said that like manufactured products, many services are now tradeable on which Bangladesh should concentrate to reduce the trade deficit with India.
Officials from public sectors, business leaders, academicians and representatives from different associations participated in the meeting as stakeholders.
FBCCI President Md Jashim Uddin, DCCI President Rizwan Rahman, Additional Secretary (FTA Wing) of Ministry of Commerce Md Shahidul Islam, Lead Consultant of the CEPA Study Dr Selim Raihan, BASIS President Syed Almas Kabir, CEO of Nagad Rahel Ahmed, Director & CEO of Energypac Engineering Ltd Eng Rabiul Alam, BKMEA Vice President Mohammad Hatem, Bangladesh Tourism Board CEO Jabed Ahmed, and Director of Tour Operators Association of Bangladesh Taufiq Rahman, among others, also attended the event.
Moreover, it is to mention that the First Stakeholder Consultation Meeting of CEPA on Investment sector was held on 19 May.