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Title: Final Review Report on The Policy Guidelines on the Free Trade Agreement (FTA), 2010 .

Reponsible Agency: Ministry of Commerce
Issuing Date: 26-05-2022

The Policy review report has been constructed under the initiative of the Government of Bangladesh (GoB) to launch the Bangladesh Regional Connectivity Project 1 (BRCP-1) with the collaboration of the International Development Association (IDA), and the World Bank. Since the country’s independence, Bangladesh has undergone several policy modifications. Component Two is an umbrella project which is implemented under the Ministry of Commerce (MoC). The main objective of the technical assistance project is to have a detailed review of the existing policy papers of Bangladesh which are relevant to trade, to expand the trade-related institutional capacity, ensure sustainable development and cooperation among trade-related stakeholders, and aid the economic development and empower the women traders in the country. Since Bangladesh will be graduating from LDC status in 2026, the existing policies need to be reviewed to identify areas that require modifications to facilitate
a smoother transition and to enhance the export performance of the economy the postgraduation. The policy review paper consists of the country comparison of Bangladesh with Vietnam, Malaysia, and South Korea regarding the trade agreements undertaken by these countries. The paper also has a section dedicated to the gender-specific provision regarding the mainstreaming aspect of women traders in the policy guideline of the Free Trade Agreement, 2010. SANEM has conducted several KIIs, and desk research to construct the review paper

The formulation of the policy paper involved extensive desk research, multiple consultation sessions with the relevant stakeholders, and intensive study of existing papers related to the Free trade agreements. Chapter one of the paper highlights the introduction and research questions which are the purpose of the study and describes the methodology used in detail to construct the policy paper. Chapter two outlines a detailed overview of the policy guideline, lists of bottlenecks, and challenges of the policy implementations regarding the trade-related provision and address the current global state relevant to trade agreements. Chapter three explains the existing provisions related to women entrepreneurs including examples of Trade Agreements negotiated in other developed nations and African regions. The section also provided recommendations relevant to mainstreaming the gender-specific provisions in Trade Agreements. Chapter four outlines the essential recommendations and findings
through a recommendation matrix table in detail.

The major finding of the review paper suggests the need for Free Trade Agreements
negotiations for Bangladesh to facilitate trade in the post-LDC graduation period. As the
global trade scenario is constantly evolving and changing with time, there is growing
popularity of negotiating FTAs and Regional trading Blocs. Importantly, the policy review
paper has incorporated some major recommendations for future FTA policies. One of the key
recommendations while the formulation of the agreement is to initially focus on Trade on
goods, services, and investment. Moreover, such documents and policies need to be revised
and modified every five years. The policy guideline should include necessary provisions to
develop the country’s negotiation tactics, trade facilitation, tariff reduction or elimination,
developing and easing of the investment climate, IP rights, EE-commerce Labour issues, and
many more. Furthermore, the provision under the guideline must also include an
establishment of a committee for proper assessment of potential countries for future
negotiations of FTAs that comprises representatives from government bodies, agencies,
business associations, and researchers.
To conclude, the policy paper review outlines the need for extensive negotiations of Free
Trade Agreements with potential countries and suggests recommendations regarding
modification of the policy guidelines on Free Trade Agreement, 2010.

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