The Ministry of Commerce has formed a committee to review the impact of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) – the world's largest free trade agreement – on Bangladesh's export trade, as well as its impact if Bangladesh were to be included in the agreement.
The nine-member body includes officials from the ministry, the Bangladesh Trade and Tariff Commission, the Export Promotion Bureau and the Bangladesh Foreign Trade Institute, with Md Shahidul Islam, additional secretary of the ministry (FTA), the convener.
Based on the recommendations of this committee, the Ministry of Commerce will decide whether to join the RCEP signed among five nations, led by China.
Shahidul Islam told The Business Standard that the committee will hold its first meeting in the second week of December and formally begin work.
The committee will analyse the impact of the agreement with Asean and the RCEP by preparing and presenting a report on Bangladesh's involvement and impact with regional trade agreements, according to the meeting minutes.
In addition, it will formulate a proposal to enhance the capacity of the Ministry of Commerce to sign bilateral and regional trade agreements.
Bangladesh did not make any attempt earlier to join the China-led 16-nation regional free trade pact which would constitute the world's biggest free trade bloc both in terms of market size and share of global economy.