The government has initiated a process to form Joint Trade Council (JTC) with Cambodia aiming to help boost bilateral trade between the two countries, officials said.
Under the move, the Ministry of Commerce (MoC) recently held a meeting with other relevant agencies to formulate necessary work plan to this effect.
"We have initiated the process for formation of JTC between Bangladesh and Cambodia to boost bilateral trade," an additional secretary of the MoC, involved with the process, told the FE.
The meeting, however, suggested exclusion of the ministry of shipping (MoS) and the ministry of education (MoE) from the process.
Besides, it also decided to take recommendations from ministries or departments concerned for preparing new module of contracts between the two countries after scrutinising the old ones to be signed in future.
The ministries that are needed to be involved for their suggestions for formation of JTC are ministries of foreign affairs, civil aviation and tourism, textiles and jute, industry, Bangladesh Investment Development Authority, Bangladesh Bank, Bangladesh Tariff Commission, Export Promotion Bureau and the National Board of Revenue.
The MoC also suggested calling an interministerial meeting after getting the recommendations from all concerned ministries and departments for taking decision on formation of JTC.
The MoC has taken the move following Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's visit to Cambodia from June 16 to June 18, 2014.
During her visit, the two countries issued a joint statement that stressed the need for formation of JTC.
The issue of forming JTC was also discussed during visit of the then senior secretary of the MoC to Cambodia on January 23 -26 last.
Bangladesh and Cambodia signed a bilateral trade agreement on August 4, 2006.
"We will send the draft proposal of JTC to Cambodia after getting recommendations from all ministries and departments concerned," the MoC official said.
The two countries agreed to form JTC for bilateral cooperation in 2010. But since then, there was no tangible development in this respect, according to the MoC.
Bangladesh exported goods worth US $ 4.37 million to Cambodia against $ 1.8 million imports in the fiscal year (FY) 2015-16.
The balance of trade is tilting in favour of Bangladesh over the last few years.
The country's main exports to Cambodia include ready-made garments, footwear, leather and leather goods, tea, jute and jute goods, knitwear, pharmaceuticals, tableware, home linen, textiles, seafood and marine products, potatoes, light engineering products, spices, cosmetic, ceramic and melamine products.
Bangladesh imports mainly edible oil, cotton, clinker and yarn etc.