Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed on Thursday urged the Indian authorities to remove tariff and non-tariff barriers to boost exports of Bangladeshi products to India.
“Due to different tariff and non-tariff barriers, Bangladesh’s exports to India are not growing at the expected level despite having duty benefits for almost all products except tobacco and liquor,” he said.
The commerce minister said this while addressing as chief guest the inaugural ceremony of the 4th Indo-Bangla trade fair at Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel in the capital.
India-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IBCCI) organised the three-day trade event.
Chaired by IBCCI president Taskin Ahmed, the opening ceremony was attended by Indian High Commissioner Harsh Vardhan Shringla and Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) Abdul Matlub Ahamd as special guests.
More than 30 companies related to automobile, processed food, banking, insurance, home appliances, consumer goods, power, paints, electronics and electrical, textiles, cement manufacturing, and lubricants manufacturing sector are exhibiting their products and services in six pavilions and 30 stalls.
Tofail said Bangladesh exported goods worth $689.78 million to India in the 2015-16 fiscal while Indian goods worth $5.70 billion were exported to Bangladesh during the period.
“Trade gap is natural. But, India will have to come forward to remove the trade barriers.We have a lot of expectations from our biggest neighbour as they helped us during our war of liberation,” he added.
He urged the Indian envoy to take steps to remove tariff and non-tariff barriers so that bilateral trade between the two neighbouring countries does not face any hindrance.
The commerce minister also said digital Bangladesh is not a dream, now it is a reality and exports of Bangladesh will exceed $60 billion by 2021.
Shringla said that the IBCCI has done a great job by arranging Indo-Bangla trade fair to strengthen bilateral commercial ties between India and Bangladesh.
In 2015-16, Bangladesh’s exports to India rose by 30.8 percent to $689.62 million and Indian exports declined by 6.3 percent, he mentioned adding, “The companies from both countries are exploring new opportunities for investing and setting up joint ventures in each other’s country.”
India is interested to set up manufacturing industries in Bangladesh, Shringla said.
“Around $S11 billion of investments from India in the power, LNG and port sectors in Bangladesh are in the pipeline. India has also been offered sites by Bangladesh for setting up Special Economic Zones exclusively for Indian companies.”
“In an important development in waterways/sea connectivity between India and Bangladesh, first container ship will arrive from Kolkata to Pangaon Inland Container Terminal tomorrow under the Coastal Shipping Agreement between our two countries,” he said.
Matlub Ahamd said during the fair they are talking with Indian delegates about the BIBN and the fair will help Bangladeshi entrepreneurs to closely know India.
“The fair will not only promote sale, but also to show Indian capacity,” he added.