A state-body has started conducting an in-depth feasibility study on possible impact and challenges of proposed inclusion of Bangladesh in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), officials said.
The Ministry of Commerce (MoC) has instructed the state-run Bangladesh Trade and Tariff commission (BTTC) to take next course of actions in this regard, and submit a report on the research study within the next three months, they added.
The BTTC has already requested different entities, including the National Board of Revenue and the Bangladesh Bank, to provide necessary information, an official of the agency said.
He also said, "We have started the feasibility study, but it is now at initial stage."
Possible challenges and potential goods and sectors, including future projection, would be identified and included under the study, according to a recent review meeting - on Bangladesh's possible inclusion in the RCEP and its impact - with Commerce Secretary Tapan Kanti Ghosh in the chair.
The RCEP negotiations were formally launched during the 2012 ASEAN Summit in Cambodia.
India withdrew its name from the agreement in November 2019 despite participation from the beginning of negotiations.
On November 15, 2020 the ASEAN nations and Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand, and South Korea signed an FTA to boost trade among the Asia-Pacific nations under the banner of RCEP.
The ASEAN members include Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei, Cambodia, Myanmar, and Laos.
In November 2020, the MoC formed a nine-member committee to review the possibility of Bangladesh's inclusion in the world's largest free trade area and sign FTA with the ASEAN bloc to boost the country's exports to the member states.
The government is now considering giving importance to trade treaties with regional countries, a senior MoC official said.
Member countries of the RCEP hope that formal ratification of the deal would be completed within January 01, 2022.
The 15 member countries account for about 30 per cent of the world's population (2.2 billion people) and 30 per cent of the global GDP (US$ 26.2 trillion) as of 2020, according to Wikipedia.