Multimodal connectivity key to boosting trade: Indian envoy

Staff Correspondent

24 February, 2021 12:00 AM printer

Indian High Commissioner in Dhaka Vikram K Doraiswami has emphasized the need to develop multimodal connectivity system and improve port infrastructure for stronger bilateral trade between Bangladesh and India.

He said the multimodal connectivity and better ports infrastructures are key to boost the cross-border trade.

The High Commissioner came up with the remarks during a bilateral trade talk with the Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) President Rizwan Rahman at the DCCI office in Dhaka on Tuesday, said a press release.

Doraiswami said the time and cost of transportation of trade between Delhi and Chattogram Port “is unendurably high”.

He hoped the business community of both countries would convince the governments to work on developing transportation facilities.

India’s top diplomat to Bangladesh also underscored infrastructural development and technological advancement in all the land ports of Bangladesh for faster process of exports and imports.

The railway can be the most cost-effective option transport system for export and import of goods, Doraiswami added, also expressing his country’s willingness to use Bangladesh’s existing river ports for goods transportation.

However, some regulatory steps and infrastructural improvement projects including river dredging need to be undertaken to ensure smooth river transportation, said Doraiswami.

The High Commissioner said Bangladesh can export edible oil to India at 20 percent value addition on the product.

“We would like to establish a unique mechanism to allow Bangladesh’s BSTI certification especially for the food products, as well as other products including steel in a reciprocal manner,” he said.

As to the Indian investment in Bangladesh, Doraiswami said, “It would be great if we could jointly work to stimulate more Indian businesses to come to Bangladesh and invest in the SEZs as Bangladesh offers huge opportunities [for investors].”

DCCI President Rizwan Rahman agreed with the Indian diplomat on the matter of transport cost of goods from Dhaka to Delhi.

“The cost is significantly higher than those from Dhaka to European and US ports,” Rizwan Rahman said.

The DCCI president also expressed his fears about the enactment of Customs Rules 2020 by India, saying that “it may create problems in claiming preferential duty for Bangladeshi goods in the Indian market under SAFTA and APTA.”

He urged India to review its Custom Rules 2020 pertaining to the Rules of Origin and mutual recognition of quality certification given by both the countries.

DCCI leader emphasized the up-gradation of the land ports infrastructures of both the countries, transit and connectivity, cross-border railway connectivity and implementation of BBIN Motor Vehicle Agreement.

The bilateral trade between Bangladesh and India totaled $ 6.9 billion in the fiscal year 2019-20 where Bangladesh’s export to India was $1.10 billion against the import of $5.79 billion.

Earlier at a programme at National Press Club, Indian High Commissioner said that Bangladesh is the biggest trade partner of India in Asia and it is increasing with the passage of time.

“Relationship between the two countries now remains at highest point. What is good for us is good for you and what is good for you is good for us. We will go forward together”, said the High Commissioner.

Indian Media Correspondents Association Bangladesh (IMCAB) organized the seminar on Bangabandhu and Bangladesh-India relationship on Tuesday. Information Minister Hasan Mahmud was present as chief guest.