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Bangladesh Withdraws From Asia Free Trade Zone Agreement - 2004-02-08


Officials in Thailand say Bangladesh has pulled out of a plan to create a free trade zone in Asia.

Thailand, Sri Lanka, India and Burma are expected to sign an agreement Sunday in Phuket. But officials say Bangladesh pulled out after demanding compensation for lifting tariffs.

Thai officials say the idea got little support from other countries. Nepal and Bhutan also joined in the talks but it is not yet clear when they will sign the agreement.

Thai Commerce Minister Watana Muangsook said he hoped the two countries could, along with Bangladesh, join the pact sometime in the future.

The planned seven-nation Asian pact would form a free trade zone with a population of some one-point-three billion.

Information for this report is provided by Reuters.

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