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CPD Working Paper 107 – Bilateral Free Trade Agreements (FTAs): Opportunities and Challenges for Bangladesh – Framework Issues

CPD Working Paper Series

Contributors: Khondaker Golam MoazzemMehruna Islam Chowdhury and Saifa Raz

Publication Period: June 2014

In the backdrop of rise in Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) in developing countries, particularly after the global financial and economic crisis, Bangladesh is still ambivalent in setting its strategies regarding it. The present study tries to explore Bangladesh’s scope for taking market-specific initiatives including FTAs with a view to enhance export. A number of economic tools and techniques have been applied to examine possible scenarios regarding preferential market access for Bangladesh. Based on the analysis, the following conclusions have been drawn out: a) there are good reasons for Bangladesh to pursue negotiations for preferential market access including bilateral FTAs, though at a limited level, particularly with countries of Southern region; b) Given the limited level of export competitiveness, major focus should be put on signing Preferential Trade Agreements; and c) the government should put emphasis on strengthening its institutional capacity for effective negotiation with prospective partner countries.

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