Poor transportation facilities still a major barrier | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 24, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:53 AM, February 24, 2021


Poor transportation facilities still a major barrier

Easier multi-modal connectivity and better port infrastructure are key to boosting trade between India and Bangladesh, according to Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Vikram K Doraiswami.

Infrastructure development and technological advancement at all of Bangladesh's land ports will expedite the export-import processes, he said.

Doraiswami made these comments during yesterday's courtesy visit to the Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI), where he had a bilateral talk on trade issues with DCCI President Rizwan Rahman.

"We would like to establish a unique mechanism to allow Bangladesh's BSTI certification, especially for food products and others, including steel in a reciprocal manner," Doraiswami said, according to a press release of the DCCI.

The cost of transportation and time between Delhi and Chattogram Port is high, he added.

Doraiswami also urged the business communities of both nations to convince their respective governments to upgrade goods transportation facilities.

Bangladesh can export edible oil to India with a 20 per cent value addition.

There are five railway crossings that are connected between the two sides now. For the import and export of goods, railways could be the most cost-effective option, he said.

The envoy also said India is very keen to expedite the use of Bangladesh's existing river ports for goods transportation. But to do so, a few regulatory issues need to be taken care of.

Regarding Indian investment in Bangladesh, Doraiswami said it would be great if both countries jointly work to encourage Indian businesses to invest in the country's economic zones.

DCCI President Rahman said that bilateral trade between Bangladesh and India amounted to $6.9 billion in fiscal year 2019-20, with Bangladesh's export to India standing at $1.10 billion against imports of $5.79 billion.

He informed the Indian envoy that the neighbouring nation has enacted Customs Rules 2020, which may create problems for Bangladesh to claim preferential access to the Indian market under the South Asian Free Trade Agreement and the Asia Pacific Trade Agreement.

The cost of transporting goods from Dhaka to Delhi is significantly higher than those from Dhaka to EU and US ports, Rahman added.

The DCCI chief also asked to expedite the implementation of the Indian Line of Credit as promised to Bangladesh.

He went on to urge for a review of the Custom Rules 2020, pertaining to the Rules of Origin and mutual recognition of quality certification given by both countries.   

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