The Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh, Vikram Kumar Doraiswami, said on Tuesday that Bangladesh can export edible oil to India at 20 per cent value addition to the product, as he urged the business communities of both the countries to convince the governments to upgrade goods transportation facilities.
On Indian investment in Bangladesh, Doraiswami said, "It would be great if we could jointly work to stimulate more Indian businesses to come to Bangladesh and invest in the Special Economic Zones (SEZs), as Bangladesh has huge potentials. The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) and the Bangladesh, China, India and Myanmar (BCIM) economic corridor need to be tapped for mutual interests of the private sector, Doraiswami added.
The High Commissioner on Tuesday paid a courtesy visit to the Dhaka Chamber of Commerce & Industry (DCCI) and held bilateral trade talks with the President of DCCI, Rizwan Rahman.
During the discussion, Rahman said that the bilateral trade between Bangladesh and India stood at $6.9 billion in FY 2019-20, when Bangladesh's exports to India were $1.10 billion against imports of $5.79 billion.
The total FDI stock from India to Bangladesh as of September 2020 was $645.54 million. Since 2017, Bangladeshi jute products have been facing anti-dumping duties ranging between $19 and $351.72 per tonne while exporting to India, he added.
Besides, India has enacted the Customs Rules 2020 which may create problems in claiming preferential duty for Bangladeshi goods in the Indian market under SAFTA and APTA.
The cost of transporting goods from Dhaka to Delhi is significantly higher than those from Dhaka to other European and US ports, he mentioned.
Rahman requested India to expedite the implementation of the Indian Line of Credit promised to Bangladesh. He also urged to review the Custom Rules 2020 pertaining to rules of origin and mutual recognition of quality certification given by both the countries.
The DCCI chief said the private sector needs to be included in the joint economic commission to address the non-tariff barriers and trade related disputes.
The Indian High Commissioner said, "We're also very keen to expedite the use of Bangladesh's existing river ports for goods transportation, but this needs a few regulatory things to be done, including river dredging. We would like to establish a unique mechanism to allow Bangladesh's BSTI certification, especially for food products as well as other goods, including steel, in a reciprocal manner."
He also urged for infrastructure development and technological advancement of all the land ports in Bangladesh to expedite faster export and import processes. The cost of transportation and time between Delhi and Chattogram port is unendurably high, the High Commissioner mentioned.
There are five railway crossings that are connected between the two sides now. Doraiswami said for goods export and import, railway can be the most cost-effective option, as he renewed his call for railway infrastructure and capacity development.
Doraiswami also emphasised on the upgradation of land port infrastructures of the two countries, transit and connectivity, cross-border railway connectivity and implementation of the BBIN Motor Vehicle Agreement.
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