Dhaka, Saturday, 12 June 2021

Launching new era in trade

Launching new era in trade

In ancient times, trade began as a barter system in which people exchanged one object for another. Later, precious metals became the medium of exchange which was practised for long time. The change of the transaction system began in the fifteenth century. During this time the concept of ‘city-state’ started emerging in Europe. And then the affluent merchant class developed through international trade.

These international trade and affluent merchant group played a vital role in the social change throughout Europe. At that time the banks began to make good term with these merchants and finance in local and international trade. As a result, the merchant economy started replacing the small feudal economy. And the concept of economy started changing.

How to exchange goods and money from one country to another without any troubles became the main concern of that economy. The main trend at that time was mercantilism or the balance of payments. It is the difference between the total expenditures on imports and earnings on exports of a country. Exporting goods to other countries was naturally welcomed as it helped to earn huge money. But people would think that imports are harmful as money would go out in this process to other countries. And from then, trade protectionism was started.

Recently, Bangladesh and Bhutan signed Priority Trade Agreement (PTA). As per the agreement, 100 Bangladeshi products will get duty free entry to Bhutan. On the other hand, 34 Bhutanese products will get duty free entry here. Additional items will be included in the future based on mutual consent.

Bhutan first recognized Bangladesh as an independent and sovereign country on December 6, 1971. On the same day, after 49 years, Bangladesh took the first step towards preferential trade by signing PTA with Bhutan. Bhutan, a true friend of Bangladesh, has become an integral part of our trade history.

This new era of country's trade must be taken forward. Such agreements can be signed with other countries to continue this trend. Bangladesh has already taken the initiative to sign PTA with Nepal. We hope this initiative will also be successful.

We think there is also scope for such trade agreements outside the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). At present, many countries are signing various trade agreements to increase mutual trade facilities and economic growth. Recently, an agreement has been signed to form a new trade alliance called the Regional Cooperative Economic Partnership (RCEP) under the leadership of China.