Published in The Independent on Saturday, 13 February 2016
Better infrastructure envisaged to boost exports to India
Bangladesh urges next-door-neighbour to remove tariff barriers
Infrastructure facilities such as warehouses, power supply, telecommunication, cold storage at land custom stations across the borders will be improved to increase exports to India, said commerce ministry officials. As part of the initiative, the government will urge Indian authorities to provide effective market access by removing non-tariff and para-tariff barriers, which hinder bilateral trade between the two countries. “Physical infrastructure facilities like warehouses, power supply, telecommunication, cold storage at land custom stations across the borders will be improved for exploring the highest potential of bilateral trade,” the officials added. During a visit to India in January, Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed urged India to remove tariff and non-tariff barriers for increasing Bangladesh’s exports to India. “It is urgent to increase trade cooperation between the two countries by removing the barriers,” he said.
As part of the initiative to promote trade and investment, an exchange of trade delegations at the government and private sector level will be undertaken.
The ministry will also organise buyer-seller meets between the two countries to strengthen existing bilateral trade and expand the volume of trade.
Bangladesh may seek Indian assistance for developing human resources in sectors like trade and investment, sources said, adding “Bangladesh may request India at the meeting of Federation of India Export Organisation
(FIEO) for more scholarships for people in the business sector.”
Talking to The Independent, Executive Director of Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) Prof Mustafizur Rahman put emphasis on infrastructure development, including upgradation of Bangladesh Standard Testing Institute (BSTI), modernisation of land port and increased connectivity.
He, however, praised the Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN) Motor Vehicle Agreement, which will play a pivotal role in boosting trade in this region.
Bangladesh mainly exports raw jute, jute goods, jute yarn twine, cane molasses, light engineering products, frozen fish, furnace oil, sacks and bags, cement, betel nuts, knit and woven garments, jute garments, cut flowers, soybean oil, copper wires, agro processed food, soap and toiletries, Jamdani sarees, mosquito nets, accumulator battery, etc, to India.
On the other hand, Bangladesh imports live animals, prepared food stuff, cereals, vegetables, mineral products, products of chemical or allied industries, plastic and articles thereof, textiles and textiles articles, wood pulp, articles of stone, base metals, vehicles and transport equipment, etc, from India.
According to the Export Promotion Bureau, Bangladesh exported $ 527.16 million in FY 2014-15, $ 456.63 million in FY 2013-14, while it imported $5811.90 million FY 2014-15, and $6,034.80 million in FY 2013-14.