Govt moves to remove export-import hassles | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, October 08, 2012 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, October 08, 2012

Govt moves to remove export-import hassles


From right, Amjad Khan Chowdhury, president of MCCI; GM Quader, commerce minister; Ghulam Hussain, commerce secretary; Md Shahab Ullah, chairman of Bangladesh Tariff Commission; Sadiq Ahmed, vice-chairman of Policy Research Institute; and Rokia Afzal Rahman, former caretaker government adviser, attend a seminar on trade facilitation at the MCCI building in Dhaka yesterday.Photo: STAR

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The government will form a trade facilitation council to ensure better services for the businesspeople in overseas trades, Commerce Minister GM Quader said yesterday.
The council will ease the procedures of import and export of goods through simplification and automation of the system as the businesses often complaint of hassles in such trades.
But the minister did not say when and how the council will be formed.
“We are also formulating a comprehensive trade policy,” Quader said.
He said a businessman needs to take approvals from at least 31 desks at airports to export a product, which is time consuming.
“This is the price of democracy,” the minister said.
Once the trade facilitation body is formed, the businesses will not face such hassles as the procedures will be automated and e-certification will be in place.
“Automation also reduces rent-seeking,” Quader said.
About border trade with India, the minister said Bangladesh wants to increase the number of land customs stations in the border areas, but India does not want to do so.
The commerce ministry wants to sign a free trade agreement (FTA) with Malaysia, but the National Board of Revenue opposes the idea, arguing that the country will lose revenue substantially if the deal is signed.
The commerce ministry is now working on the possible FTAs with Malaysia, Turkey and Sri Lanka, the minister said.
Quader also ruled out the possibility of losing 20 percent business by Bangladeshi garment exporters if the EU and India sign an FTA, saying many buyers are now coming to Bangladesh.
Quader was responding to a keynote presentation on "trade facilitation in Bangladesh: constraints and way forward" at the office of Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Dhaka.
The MCCI organised the seminar in collaboration with Bangladesh Tariff Commission where Rama Dewan, a deputy chief of the commission, presented the paper.
Commerce Secretary Ghulam Hussain said the ministry is now working to amend the Bangladesh Companies Act 1994.
The competition law and multi-level marketing law have already been passed in parliament, he added.
“We are now working to automate the procedures for issuing GSP (Generalised System of Preferences) certificates to facilitate export,” he said.
The commerce ministry is in talks with India and Uzbekistan for importing cotton through state-level agreements so that the local spinners get the fibre at cheaper prices, he added.
Sadiq Ahmed, vice-chairman of private think tank Policy Research Institute, said simplification of procedures, computerisation and upgradation of infrastructures are important to ensure trade facilitation.
Mozibur Rahman, chief executive director of Bangladesh Foreign Trade Institute, said Bangladeshi garment exporters may lose 20 percent business if the EU and India sign an FTA.
Salahuddin Kashem Khan, managing director of AK Khan Group, opposed the government's plan to set up a coal-based power plant in Anwara in Chittagong.
He said movement of vessels will be disrupted near the port as many coal-laden ships will clog the area.
However, the minister said he did not know anything about the power plant.
MCCI President Amjad Khan Chowdhury moderated the discussion.

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