Cut non-tariff barriers, Tofail asks India | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, September 11, 2014 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:53 AM, March 08, 2015

Cut non-tariff barriers, Tofail asks India

Cut non-tariff barriers, Tofail asks India

From left, Kamran T Rahman, a member of the MCCI committee; Tofail Ahmed, commerce minister; Rokia Afzal Rahman, president of MCCI; Mahbubur Rahman, president of ICCB; Farooq Ahmed, MCCI secretary-general; and Latifur Rahman, vice president of ICCB, attend the launch of a report on non-tariff measures in South Asia, at MCCI in Dhaka yesterday. Photo: Star
From left, Kamran T Rahman, a member of the MCCI committee; Tofail Ahmed, commerce minister; Rokia Afzal Rahman, president of MCCI; Mahbubur Rahman, president of ICCB; Farooq Ahmed, MCCI secretary-general; and Latifur Rahman, vice president of ICCB, attend the launch of a report on non-tariff measures in South Asia, at MCCI in Dhaka yesterday. Photo: Star

Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed yesterday called upon India to reduce non-tariff barriers and enhance connectivity with Bangladesh to boost bilateral trade between the two neighbours.
The minister said Bangladesh is also opening up its market through regional connectivity. “India should come forward to increase it too.”
“We are liberal. We are highly connected with India. We like to open our economy and our doors. Our friend India should come forward to take the business opportunity,” Ahmed said.
“When we talk about the economic corridor of Bangladesh, China, India and Myanmar (BCIM), it refers to opening up of our economy,” the minister added.
On business potential, the minister said Japanese entrepreneurs are shifting their investment to Bangladesh for a better business
environment here. Currently, Bangladesh enjoys a duty-free access to the European Union under the Everything But Arms (EBA) agreement, and many foreigners are interested in investing here for this reason, he added.
Ahmed was addressing the business community at a report launching ceremony at Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) in Dhaka.
Saarc-Trade Promotion Network Partners in Bangladesh, MCCI, Export Promotion Bureau and SME Foundation co-organised the event to launch the report -- NTMs in South Asia: Assessment and Analysis -- at the MCCI office in Dhaka.
According to World Trade Organisation, there should not be any non-tariff measures (NTMs), but businesspeople in the Saarc (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) region have to face such barriers in regional trade.
The NTMs are of particular concern to exporters and importers in developing countries as they are a major impediment to international trade and can prevent market access.
Kazi Akram Uddin Ahmed, president of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI), and other business leaders and senior government officials also spoke on the occasion, with Rokia Afzal Rahman, president of the MCCI, in the chair.
While presenting his keynote, Selim Raihan, executive director of South Asian Network on Economic Modelling (Sanem), said 49 out of 50 products originating from Bangladesh faced NTMs on export to India.
On the other hand, 34 out of 50 products originating from India faced NTMs on export to Bangladesh. “The non-tariff barriers are more than the tariff barriers in regional trade,” Raihan said. Mutual recognition agreements can be beneficial in reducing trade barriers.
“The value of imported products may get assessed only on the basis of WTO Customs Valuation Agreement.”
Saiful Islam, chairman of Western Marine, said most products accredited by Bangladesh Accreditation Board are not accepted by many countries. “So we need a regional accreditation board to certify the exportable goods.”
The study also said para-tariffs, port restrictions, pre-shipment inspection requirements, sanitary and phyto-sanitary restrictions, technical barriers to trade, fluctuating standards and procedural steps are major NTMs in case of Bangladesh and India.
Despite the fact that tariff rates in the South Asian countries, especially in India, have been coming down in recent times, intra-regional trade has not been boosted, the study said.
Non-tariff barriers among the South Asian countries have long been pointed out as one of the major reasons behind low intra-regional trade between them.
Reduction in the non-tariff barriers among the South Asian countries is likely to have important implications in terms of improved market access of these countries to their neighbouring countries, the study added.
 

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