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India lists Bangla trade hurdles

Calcutta, Dec. 14: India has stressed the need to remove infrastructure bottlenecks in trade with Bangladesh. An improvement in land customs stations (LCS) and standard weighing scales for goods have been highlighted as immediate requirements.

Land customs stations are gateways for the transit of goods and services between the neighbouring countries.

“Transaction costs continue to be our biggest concern. Indian exporters have complained about the weighing systems. There is a need for better LCS management. About 50 per cent of total trade between the two countries happen through LCS. The turnaround time for trucks must come down,” said Anup K. Pujari, director-general of foreign trade.

“There should be a unified weighing process. A single entity should be entrusted to carry out the weighing process. This will not only eliminate the difference in weights but also will result in cutting down the transportation time. Also, Indian requests for SEZs should be granted quickly,” he said.

He was speaking at a session organised by the Calcutta Chamber of Commerce where Bangladeshi commerce minister Ghulam Muhammed Quader and Bengal industries minister Partha Chatterjee were present.

Bangladesh is an important export market with the balance of trade tilted in India’s favour. Bilateral trade has increased to $3.5 billion in 2009-10 from $2.1 billion in 2005-06. In 2011-12, it stood at over $5.24 billion. Exports to Bangladesh grew 3.4 per cent to $4.7 billion in 2011-12 over the previous year.

“We are trying to see how the tariff barriers can be reduced. We will have to protect some of our local industry. I hope these will be removed in a few years. We are also trying to establish an SEZ for Indian businessmen. Joint collaborations are welcome,” Quader said.

“There is a need for harmonisation of customs procedures and documentation,” Chatterjee said.

 
 
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