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Move to set up trade body for sub-continent

Calcutta, Dec. 20: West Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee has held informal talks with representatives from Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and Myanmar to set up a trade body that would provide a platform to member countries to improve trade and jointly face the challenges.

Speaking the inauguration of the 16th Industrial India Trade Fair, Bhattacharjee said, “It is necessary to draw up a strategy to check dumping of goods by developed countries into developing ones. The body will also help improve trade between countries in the sub-continent through regional co-operation.”

The fair is being jointly organised by the Bengal National Chamber of Commerce and Industry and India Trade Promotion Organisation with Bangladesh as partner country.

“The fair will give an opportunity to Bangladeshi units to display their products before Indian consumers and help in promoting intra-region trade,” Bangladesh commerce minister Amir Khoshru Md. Chowdhury said. He said the Export Promotion Company has decided to set up its first overseas branch in Calcutta and requested the chief minister to allot land for the same. The company will set up a permanent exhibition area for Bangladeshi goods. All information regarding Bangladeshi trade and industry will also be available for the office.

“Around 90 per cent of the goods traded between India and Bangladesh have to pass through several security check posts,” said Chowdhury. “It is necessary to minimise these checks to enable the smooth flow of imports and export.”

He added that the immense potential of Indo-Bangla trade has not been fully exploited. “It is necessary to utilise the opportunities present to ensure our survival in this age of globalisation,” he said. “Globalisation has created many barriers and developing countries are being severely affected.”

He also said that the committee set up to explore natural gas exports to India and other neighbouring countries has submitted its report.

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