The government has signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) with the Eurasian Economic Commission aiming to boost export of Bangladeshi goods to the Russian and EEC countries. The MoC would also help to further strengthen trade cooperation between Bangladesh and Russia. Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi, now visiting Russia, signed the MoC on May 31at the headquarters of the Eurasian Economic Commission in Moscow.
Member of the Board of Eurasian Economic Commission, Tatiana Valovaya and Tipu Munshi signed the MoC on behalf of their respective sides. Addressing the signing ceremony, Tipu Munshi expressed hope that export of Bangladeshi goods will increase significantly to the Russian market, and economic cooperation between the two countries will further be strengthened through this agreement.
The Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) launched its journey on January 1, 2015, and comprises five East Europen and Asian countries like Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Kirghizstan.The activities of the EEU are almost like those of the European Union (EU). As a Customs Union has been formed among the EEU countries, there is no customs border among them, and as a result, goods can be exported or imported among the member states without any payment of duty or tax.
EEU member states follow a uniform tax rate and uniform trade policy for all sorts of international trade. Under EEU, a total of 18.27 crore people live within a 2 crore square kilometer area where the GDP is $ 5 trillion and per capita income is $ 27,000. 14 percent of total cultivable land in the globe is located in this area where wheat, maize, cotton etc are produced in huge in quantity. The area is the main source for urea fertilizer, natural gas, petroleum, chemicals and minerals.
The Commerce Minister said, there is a huge potential of exporting Bangladeshi goods like Jute, RMG, Jute goods, frozen fish, medicine, potato and vegetables to the EEU member states.He said, presently some quantity of RMG products, jute, frozen shrimp and potato is exported to Russia, but it is possible to increase the export a lot. Bangladesh is seeking duty free and quota free (DFQF) market access to Russian market but it is not happening because there is no bilateral trade agreement between the countries.
" It was not possible for Russia to provide DFQF to Bangladesh because the country is a member of Customs Union under EEU, so the agreement with Eurasian Economic Union will play a supportive role in expanding the market of Bangladeshi products in the EEU states", the minister added.He said, a working committee will be formed under this agreement which will mainly work for developing a total of 19 identified sectors for enhancing trade and economic cooperation between EEU and Bangladesh.
During the visit to Russia, the Commerce Minister also held a meeting with the President of the Russian Federation of Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and Bangladesh Businessmen Association in Russia.Earlier, the EEU had made a draft proposal of memorandum of Cooperation in 2016 aiming to sign a MoC with Bangladesh for enhancing trade and economic cooperation.
The draft was later finalized after consulting with the stakeholders, trade bodies and concerned ministries and also by holding a series of inter-ministerial meetings that scrutinized the draft very intensively.