Regional Integration for Bangladesh
Bangladesh joined SAFTA, a South Asian trading bloc, to enhance its trade relations with the neighboring countries. The progress of SAFTA, however, has been quite tedious because of some impediments. Bangladesh then tries to explore new avenues by engaging with BIMSTEC-FTA, which is a sub-regional trading bloc consisting of South and Southeast Asian nations. Given this setting, the current study tries to examine whether BIMSTEC-FTA provides an alternate route to SAFTA. The work argues that this new arrangement offers Bangladesh the opportunity to tap extensive benefits by fostering collaboration in the trade, investment and service arenas. The paper further attempts to identify the problems of SAFTA and calculate the trade potential of Bangladesh in BIMSTEC-FTA. It also explains the possible benefits and challenges associated with this new free trade initiative. The study should help the policy makers of Bangladesh as there is very little research on BIMSTEC-FTA from Bangladesh perspectives, and it should be also useful for professionals in regional integration.