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Bangladesh to start FTA talks with Sri Lanka

DHAKA: The Bangladeshi Government Sunday decided to start bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations with India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, a senior official said.

The decision was made at a high-powered inter-ministerial meeting here, an official of the Commerce Ministry told reporters after the meeting.

Bangladesh's missions in the three neighbouring countries would start the negotiations process while a core committee in Dhaka will prepare the terms of reference for each of the three countries before the final talks start.

The decision came as the South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) has not been implemented yet while the neighbour countries moved to sign bilateral trade deals with each other to boost trade.

India signed a bilateral trade deal with Sri Lanka in 2001, leading to five fold increase in trade between the two countries. New Delhi has also started bilateral trade negotiations with Southeast Asian and some Gulf countries. Pakistan has also started similar negotiations. - Xinhua

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