The National Assembly adopted the Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) between Bhutan and Bangladesh yesterday.

Signed in December last year, the PTA aims to establish a preferential trading arrangement between the two countries, and reduce or eliminate trade barriers.

Economic Affairs Minister Loknath Sharma, member in charge of the convention, introduced the agreement on June 4 and it was deliberated on the same day.

“Without a trade agreement and with the government and the leaders changing, there are possibilities that the verbal agreement would change and affect trading,” Lyonpo Loknath Sharma said.

Lyonpo said that now with the agreement between the two countries, it will help the country to promote, facilitate, expand and diversify bilateral trade.

The PTA aims to build upon the existing friendly relations and strengthen the cooperation in the field of trade and commerce between the two countries.

The agreement was forwarded to the National Council for deliberation.

There are 16 products from Bhutan that are listed as duty-free exports in addition to 18 products exempted from taxes so far. They are milk, honey, wheat or meslin flour, homogenized preparations of jam, fruit jellies, marmalades, food preparations of soya beans, mineral waters, wheat bran, quartzite, cement clinkers, soap, particle board of wood, ferrosilicon, bars and rods of iron or alloy steel, and wooden furniture.

Likewise, Bangladesh has 10 products listed that are duty-free while exporting to Bhutan in addition to the already existing 90 products. They are pineapple, guava and orange juice, green tea, mineral and aerated water, particleboard, plywood, veneered panels and laminated wood, men’s or boys’ jackets, blazers, trousers and shorts, and baby garments and clothing accessories.

By Chhimi Dema

Edited by Jigme Wangchuk