KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia and Bangladesh are expected to commence negotiations for a proposed free trade agreement (FTA) in the near future, said Bangladesh High Commissioner to Malaysia, AKM Atiqur Rahman.
He said the Bangladeshi government had submitted a proposal to the International Trade and Industry Ministry and talks could begin once the Malaysian government gave its feedback on the proposal.
“The FTA negotiation talks are expected to start once Malaysian counterparts respond to our proposal.
“On when it would be finalised, we do not know.
“But the important issue is that the talks must start, which we are hoping for soon,” he told reporters at a media briefing in conjunction with the upcoming Showcase Bangladesh 2012 here yesterday.
He said in 2010, International Trade and Industry Minister, Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed and the then Bangladesh Minister of Commerce, Muhammad Faruk Khan had verbally agreed for the talks to commence.
“We took nearly two years to work on the proposal and we have presented it to the Malaysian government.
“Once the FTA is inked, there will be vast potential in trade and investment areas to be explored by both countries.
“We expect our pharmaceutical, garment and tourism sector to boom after the signing of the FTA,” Atiqur said.
He said Malaysia had and would benefit immensely from future infrastructure projects dished out by the Bangladeshi government, as part of its redeveloping efforts.
Under the supervision of the Special Envoy (Infrastructure) to India and South East Asia, Datuk Seri S Samy Vellu, Atiqur said the investment relationship between the two countries had scaled greater heights.
“Malaysia will undertake the Padma Multipurpose Bridge worth US$3 billion and it has been reported that Malaysia has also submitted a proposal to build the proposed Bangabandhu International Airport in Bangladesh with an investment of between US$5 billion and US$6 billion,” he added.
Showcase Bangladesh 2012, which was held for the second time in Malaysia after Showcase Bangladesh 2010, was expected to address the remittance issue for Bangladeshi banks and exchange houses.
The main objective of Showcase Bangladesh 2012 was to promote and project Bangladesh for a total branding of image, heritage and culture in Malaysia.
Showcase Bangladesh 2012 was organised by the Bangladesh-Malaysia Chamber of Commerce and Industry in collaboration with the Bangladesh High Commission in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia South-South Association and Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade).
The exhibition was slated to be held between July 13 and July 15 at Dataran Merdeka, Kuala Lumpur. — Bernama