September 7, 2023
DHAKA – Bangladesh will discuss the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), guarantee of a quota for the import of seven food items, sharing of Teesta water and energy, and line of credit during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit to India.
Hasina is scheduled to fly to New Delhi on September 8 to attend the G20 Summit as a special invitee of India. On the sidelines, she would be holding a bilateral meeting with Indian PM Narendra Modi, where the issues would be discussed.
The meeting will take place at Modi’s official residence hours after Hasina arrives in the Indian capital, reports our New Delhi correspondent.
For the past year, Bangladesh has been negotiating with India for a guaranteed supply of seven essential commodities and this issue will also be discussed, Commerce Secretary Tapan Kanti Ghosh told The Daily Star yesterday.
Earlier in December, Bangladesh had sought a secured supply of 45 lakh tonnes of wheat, 7 lakh tonnes of onion, 30,000 tonnes of lentil, 20 lakh tonnes of rice, 15 lakh tonnes of sugar, 10,000 tonnes of garlic and 1.25 lakh tonnes of ginger every year.
Moreover, the issue of CEPA is also on the agenda, Ghosh said.
The proposed CEPA between Bangladesh and India has three dimensions: trade in goods, trade in services and investment.
The main target of the proposed CEPA is to reduce the huge trade gap between Bangladesh and India and open up new economic opportunities including connectivity, new markets and cooperation and partnership.
Moreover, the CEPA is planned to resolve the issues and challenges of anti-dumping duties and rules of origin through the perspective of multi-modal connectivity and deepening of cooperation in the context of sub-regional cooperation.
Bangladesh and India may discuss the progress of the implementation of different infrastructure projects under the three India lines of credit (LoCs), The Daily Star has learnt from officials briefed on the matter.
India has extended a total of $7.5 billion across three LoCs since 2010 for 46 projects. As of June, only $1.5 billion has been disbursed.
Hasina will seek easier terms and conditions for LoCs, which come with stringent terms such as employment of Indian contractors, and 65-75 percent raw material procurement from India.
Subsequently, many of the projects from the first LoC are yet to take off or were scrapped entirely.
There might be talks of extending a fourth LoC, with a dozen of the slow-moving projects included in it along with fresh ones.
Earlier, Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen told reporters that issues like connectivity, sharing of Teesta water, food and energy security and different projects will be discussed at the meeting.
Hasina will return to Dhaka on the morning of September 10, the day the summit of the leaders of the world’s most powerful economies ends.