Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Vikram K Doraiswami said on Tuesday India would be very happy to have more trade with Bangladesh through easier and more simplified procedures.
“We can expand trade by utilising land ports, railways and riverine routes improving infrastructures and facilities,” he said while addressing a meeting here as the chief guest.
Rangpur Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI) organised the meeting on ‘Bangladesh-India Bilateral Trade and Commerce Issues’ at RCCI auditorium in the metropolis.
Senior Vice-president of Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FBCCI) and former President of Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce Mostafa Azad Chowdhury Babu was present as the guest of honour.
Assistant High Commissioner of India in Rajshahi Sanjeev Kumar Bhati attended the meeting as the special guest while RCCI President Mostafa Sohrab Chowdhury Titu was in the chair.
Mostafa Azad Chowdhury Babu presented a keynote paper on various issues, problems and obstacles to bilateral trade between Bangladesh and India at the event.
Dinajpur Chamber President Reza Humayun Faruk Chowdhury Shamim, President of Burimari Land Port Importers’-Exporters’ Association and Clearing and Forwarding Agents’ Association Md Sayeduzzman and General Secretary of Sonahat Land Port Importers’-Exporters’ Association and Clearing and Forwarding Agents’ Association Abdur Razzaque talked about various obstacles to bilateral trade between Bangladesh and India.
They said due to tariff and non-tariff barriers imposed by the Indian state governments concerned on major export products of Bangladesh, it was not possible to conduct the desired export activities in India.
They requested the Indian High Commissioner to keep the Indian Customs Offices open from 7 am to 7 pm to facilitate the unloading of goods from trucks and create a conducive business environment at land ports in Rangpur division.
The Indian High Commissioner termed the issues raised by business leaders as complex and said that there are problems in terms of the totality of the trade regime that governs India-Bangladesh trade.
“Due to inadequate infrastructures and facilities at land ports and regulatory provisions governing our trade, bilateral trade is still very restricted,” he said.
The major trade between Bangladesh and India is currently happening through the Benapole-Petrapole land port having modern infrastructures, facilities and warehouses.
India wants to expand Hili and Changrabandha land ports with improving infrastructures, roads, warehouses and other facilities to enhance bilateral trade.
“Although the management of international trade is a function of the central government of India, land ports are being managed by the respective state governments,” he said.
“We want to expand these two land ports. Trade is encouraged through these two land ports. That is currently not happening,” he said, and sought cooperation from Bangladesh in encouraging the opening of more land ports.
“The Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal Motor Vehicles Agreement (BBIN MVA) was signed in 2015. We could not still be able to conclude its operation protocol,” he added.
“There is no problem from the Indian side. If we can conclude the BBIN MVA protocol, Bangladesh will benefit much more than India,” he said.
Doraiswami said India is very keen to welcome more Bangladesh garments in India.
India has already offered a reciprocal arrangement in which India will supply cotton, fibre and fabric and in return, Bangladesh will supply the finished products to India.
“It will ensure greater access of Bangladesh to the Indian market. It makes great sense for us to import more from Bangladesh, especially garments and food products,” he added.