India has offered to reduce its trade surplus with
Bangladesh by importing eight million items of garments
every year from that country, which are currently in
the sensitive list. India also indicated that it might
allow investment from Bangladesh on a selective basis,
but after necessary security checks.
MoU to give effect to these imports by India is now
awaiting final approval by Bangladesh and I hope it
can be signed very soon," minister of state for
commerce Jairam Ramesh said at the launch of the India-Bangladesh
Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
is true that at present India prohibits FDI from Pakistan
and Bangladesh for security considerations. We have
been reviewing these restrictions with a view to enabling
FDI from Bangladesh into India on a case-to-case basis,
subject to security clearance," he added.
offer to import garments could mean additional annual
earnings of $50-70 million for Bangladesh, the minister
said in an official release.
assured Bangladesh that the Government of India was
ready to remove some barriers to imports from Bangladesh
to reduce a yawning trade gap but asked Bangladesh to
make reciprocal measures.
India-Bangladesh trade meeting, opened by President
Lajuddin Ahmed in Dhaka, was attended by business leaders
from both the countries.
trade between the two South Asian neighbours is more
than $2 billion of which Bangladesh''s exports constitute
only $250-$270 million. Bangladesh blames it on tariff
and non-tariff barriers imposed by India and the lack
of market access for its ducts in India.
Matlub Ahmed, president of the India-Bangladesh Chamber
of Commerce and Industry (IBCCI), wanted India to remove
existing trade barriers like land custom stations, mandatory
standards and banking regulations in order to ease Bangladesh''s
exports to India.
said lifting these trade barriers could lift Bangladesh''s
exports to India to $1 billion annually.
barriers stand in the way of our exports.
are mainly testing requirements, inadequate physical
facilities at land customs stations in India, special
labelling requirements, mandatory standards, banking
difficulties, chemical tests (of goods) etc.,"
are firmly committed to it, in spite of the fact that
one member continues to deny us most-favoured nation
(MFN) status, which is the very basis of WTO and international
trade," he said.
said India would advance the deadline for reducing import
duties to zero for least developed countries in South
Asia to December 2007 from the original date of December
2008 on its own.
Bangladesh, this would benefit Maldives, Bhutan and
Nepal. India will also prune the sensitive list for
such countries, he said. Beginning January 1, 2008,
almost 86 per cent of Bangladesh''s tariff lines will
not attract any import duty by India.
is firmly committed to seeing and assisting in the emergence
of an economically strong and prosperous Bangladesh.
We have set up a task force to remove those barriers
that distort free and fair trade," Ramesh said.
must be prepared to give more than what she gets,"
said the Bureau of Indian Standards had already signed
a deal with its Bangladesh counterpart and had identified
six laboratories in Bangladesh "for purposes of
testing and certification in textiles and consumer products".
he told the meeting that Bangladesh also had a number
of non-tariff barriers. "Bangladesh is unwilling
to improve connectivity, and many of our proposals to
deepen commercial ties have been pending with you for
a long time," he said.
said Bangladesh should allow Indian investment and resolve
many long-standing issues as part of efforts to balance
Bangladesh wants to reduce the trade deficit ... you
consider the long-standing issue of granting of transit
rights to India and give it access to New Mooring terminal
at Chittagong Port," he said.
has put on hold an Indian proposal made long ago to
use Bangladesh territory to send food and other stuffs
through train to its land-locked northern states, because
of perceived political sensitivity.
also mentioned an existing proposal by the Tata group
to invest in Bangladesh''s energy, steel and fertiliser
sectors, on which the Bangladesh government has so far
failed to make a decision.
has proposed to invest about $3 billion in Bangladesh
... and it will help to increase Indian imports by at
least $1 billion every year," Ramesh said.
are setting up a 1,110-megawatt power plant outside
Agartala, which could supply electricity to the deficit
regions of Bangladesh as well," Ramesh said.
said along with access to Chittagong port, India would
like the notified but non-functional land customs station
at Sabroom-Ramgarh to be made operational.
would like additional land customs stations to be opened.
We are planning a station at Suterkhandi in Assam and
to make this meaningful, we need Bangladesh to develop
the corresponding inland port at Sheola," he said.
construction of a 13-km long Agartala-Akhaura railway
link would be useful in transporting goods between Chittagong
port and northeastern states of India, he added.
business leaders said they were enthusiastic over the
Indian proposals but would not be over-optimistic about
also said that India was committed to SAFTA, which is
proceeding forward on schedule.