Bangladesh has the capability to export $2 billion worth of apparel to India in the next two years on the back of its duty-free access to the market and rising demand for garment items at competitive prices, said Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi yesterday.
“Apparel export to India rose significantly in the last two years and we have the capability to export more,” he said, while expressing hope that the shipments will cross the $2 billion-mark over the next couple of years.
Munshi's comments came at a press briefing after a meeting with Adarsh Swaika, the acting high commissioner of India in Bangladesh, at his office.
In fiscal 2017-18, garment exports to India more than doubled to $278.68 million, according to the data from the Export Promotion Bureau.
“I think there is no impediment to Bangladesh's export to India,” Swaika said.
In 2011 India removed all duties on exports of Bangladeshi goods to India. “Since then we have not followed any restrictive pattern.”
On the widening gap in trade balance between the two countries, the diplomat said India's export to Bangladesh is growing as the country mainly imports raw materials for export.
For instance, Bangladesh is a major importer of cotton and active pharmaceutical ingredients from India, he said.
Bangladesh imported goods worth $8.61 billion and exported goods worth $873.27 million in last fiscal year, according to data from the ministry of commerce.
Six more border haats would be opened soon to facilitate easy availability of goods for those living in the areas, Munshi said.
He, however, did not name the areas where the markets will be set up. Currently, four border haats are in operation.
The minister assured that he would hold talks with the Indian government to resolve the trade dispute at the Feni border haat as Bangladeshi traders have been complaining about impediments in sales of their goods in the market.
He also said both countries agreed to resume the activities of the century-old Chilahati land port in Nilphamari district to facilitate trade between the two countries.
He would also discuss the issue of imposing anti-dumping duty on Bangladeshi jute and jute goods by the Indian authority so that the long-pending dispute could be resolved amicably.
Swaika said a company would soon start developing the Indian special economic zone that the Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority awarded to Indian investors.
Two more zones will also be developed soon for Indian investors at Bheramara and Mirsarai.
Swaika said a river cruise between Bangladesh and India would begin from March this year to facilitate the movement of people. Riva Ganguly Das, the newly-appointed Indian high commissioner to Bangladesh, will arrive in the middle of next month.