FE REPORT |
February 21, 2022 12:14:23
Bangladesh has asked Australia to designate a state agency to manage government-to-government trade as there are plans to boost trade cooperation between the two countries, officials said.
They say the move is made because Bangladesh wants to import a slew of high-demand commodities, like coal, liquefied natural gas (LNG), fertilizers and wheat, from Australia under a G deal. -to-G.
“…Australia could consider a government intermediary to boost trade with Bangladesh on gas, coal and wheat,” Bangladesh’s High Commissioner to Canberra, Mohammad Sufiur Rahman, said in a recent meeting with Australian Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Dan Tehan.
Australia recently initiated a similar type of arrangement for the supply of hydrogen energy to Japan, he quoted at the meeting.
In addition, he said, the Canadian government has designated the Canadian Commercial Corporation as the liaison entity to undertake the procurement of Canada on a G-to-G basis.
Mr. Rahman mentioned that Bangladesh imports A$20 billion worth of cotton, fuels, iron and steel, grains and oilseeds each. If 20% of imports come from Australia, bilateral trade could reach A$5.0-6.0 billion by 2025 and A$10 billion over the next ten years, he said.
Trade between the two countries now hovers around US$1.5 billion. In the financial year 2019-2020, Bangladesh exported goods worth $762.9 million to Australia, while imports from this region amounted to $695.7 million. dollars.
The two countries have signed a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) aimed at facilitating increased trade between them.
The TIFA Joint Trade and Investment Working Group (JWG) is meeting this week in Australia to discuss bottlenecks and ways to further improve trade and investment.
The envoy also stressed the importance of Australia conducting a study on Bangladesh to identify opportunities and enable businesses as well as governments to make informed choices.
Mr. Rahman also proposed that the joint working group on trade and investment, at its first meeting, agree on a permanent sub-group on customs cooperation and trade facilitation until Bangladesh and Australia agree to sign an agreement such as a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) or a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (APEC).