Bangladesh`s focus on free trade agreements may include trade in investment, goods and services, as well as the transportation of individuals. In negotiating merchandise trade, a number of issues should be taken into account, including tariffs, the effective mechanism for the elimination of non-tariff barriers (NB), rules of origin, customs cooperation, safeguards, the dispute settlement mechanism and the institutional mechanism for compliance with the implementation of agreements. The fourth round of negotiations will focus on areas that go beyond traditional tariff concessions in order to deepen trade policy cooperation and integration. APTA members are currently negotiating three framework agreements on trade facilitation, trade in services and investment. In addition, APTA members exchange information on non-tariff measures. The two South Asian countries, Pakistan and the Maldives, have signed free trade agreements with China. On December 7, 2017, the Maldives signed a free trade agreement with China. The China-Maldives Free Trade Agreement covers trade in goods, trade in services, investment and economic and technical cooperation, with a particular focus on liberalizing and facilitating bilateral trade and investment. It is also about strengthening practical cooperation between the two sides.
On the other hand, Pakistan and China concluded a free trade agreement in November 2006. It came into force in July 2007. Bangladesh will benefit from zero treatment as the least developed country and 8,256 Bangladeshi products will be processed, as some 3,095 products already enjoy duty-free access under the Asia-Pacific trade agreement, she added. China has signed and implemented 16 free trade and investment partners, including the Association of South Asian Nations (ASEAN), Singapore, Pakistan, Maldives, Georgia, New Zealand, Chile, Peru, Costa Rica, Iceland, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Macau, South Korea and Australia. In addition, it signed a closer Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) in 2003, synonymous with a free trade agreement with the various Hong Kong and Macao tariffs, under the “one country, two systems” principle, to improve economic cooperation and promote trade between the mainland, Hong Kong and Macao. In addition, 24 other free trade agreements are being negotiated between China and its trading partners. A 2017 study by CUTS, an Indian think tank, concluded that India, China and Bangladesh do not have common products in the top 10 of their export products, and the degree of community and competition is very low. However, the study noted that India should be concerned about the proposed free trade agreement between Bangladesh and China. India`s traditional relations with Bangladesh could be jeopardized by this agreement, as its share of Bangladesh`s trade could sooner or later be taken by China. In addition, Chinese demand for imports of textiles and other products, most of which are exported by Bangladesh, could continue to be covered by Bangladesh in the future and demand for Indian products of the same category could therefore decline in the Chinese market. As a remedial measure, India should strengthen its trade relations with Bangladesh by strengthening its support for trade and investment in Bangladesh. Bangladesh and India have already concluded a free trade agreement with the South Asia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA).
China reduced tariffs on products imported from Bangladesh as part of its tariff preference program from 1 July. The result is about 97 percent of all Bangladeshi products out of 60 percent. China will now grant duty-free export benefits to 5,161 products from Bangladesh, bringing the total number of products to 8,256, including items authorized by the Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA) agreement. According to the Bangladeshi authorities, 97% of Bangladeshi products included in a basket of products will have access to f