Dhaka, Delhi agree to set up more border haats
Bangladesh and India have agreed in principle to set up more border haats (markets) along common points in the future considering local demand.
The agreement was reached at a two-day Bangladesh-India commerce secretary-level meeting ending on Thursday at the Ministry of Commerce in Bangladesh Secretariat.
Commerce Secretary Shubashish Bose led a 16-member Bangladesh delegation while his Indian counterpart Rita Teaotia led one of the neighbouring country. The last such meeting was held in New Delhi on November 15-16 in 2016.
The meeting expressed satisfaction over operations of the four existing border haats. A decision was taken to expedite the procedure of setting up six more border haats within the next six months, said a ministry press release.
It said India proposed Bangladesh form a “Comprehensive Economic Partnership” considering the existing situation and friendly bilateral relations.
Both sides agreed to gradually ensure infrastructural development and necessary facilities of land customs ports along common borders while ensuring speedy offloading of goods from those ports.
Besides, on request, the Bangladesh delegation informed that a proposal for allowing more exportable items from India through Bangladesh's land customs ports was under scrutiny.
Bangladesh urged India to allow using its airports for exporting goods to third countries while both countries decided to form a CEOG Forum to create a business-friendly environment.
The Bangladesh delegation thanked the Indian side for the recognition of certificates of 21 food items by the Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution. It also requested India to recognise six remaining items.
The Bangladesh commerce secretary requested his Indian counterpart to withdraw the anti-dumping duty imposed by India on jute goods and hydrogen peroxide.
Besides, a request was also made to India for extending cooperation to enhance the capacity of Bangladesh regarding anti-dumping duty.
On the other hand, India requested Bangladesh to provide duty facilities for exporting Indian sugar to Bangladesh.
As India is the second largest trade partner of Bangladesh, the volume of bilateral trade rose to $6.8 billion last fiscal year (FY17).
Two-way trade is still in favour of India as Bangladesh imported goods worth $6.13 billion last fiscal against the export of goods worth $672.4 million.
Although India has provided duty-free and quota-
free access to some 25 Bangladeshi products, the trade deficit is yet to be reduced due to various impediments, including insufficient infrastructure and various non-tariff barriers.
To minimise this trade gap and barriers as well as further promoting a business-friendly environment, bilateral meetings often take place at different tiers, of which the commerce secretary-level one plays an important role.