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Plea to remove trade hurdles

Guwahati, Jan. 31: Bangladesh High Commissioner Tariq A. Karim today urged the Indian government to remove the remaining tariff barriers to increase exports from the neighbouring country to the Northeast.

“We would like to urge India and its business community to come forward to remove all remaining tariff, non-tariff and para-tariff barriers in order to increase and expand exports from Bangladesh to the Northeast,” Karim said during the inaugural function of the 21st International Guwahati Trade Fair here this afternoon.

Karim said more visa facilitation, training of exporters and importers, greater interaction between the stakeholders of the two countries and initiation of joint venture projects should be ensured to increase the trade between Bangladesh and the region.

The diplomat invited entrepreneurs from the region and the rest of the country to take advantage of the investor-friendly climate in Bangladesh and invest in the country and re-export the finished products to India or abroad.

“Bangladesh is listed among the next 11 promising economies. We have been able to put in place the right environment (for foreign investment) and attractive incentive packages. We are continuously striving to further improve the existing infrastructure and logistics,” he said.

About 100 items are currently exported to India from Bangladesh. The total export value in 2013 was pegged at $563.96 million. “A remarkable increase in our export target to India is being expected in the years to come after the declaration of duty and quota free import of 46 garment items from Bangladesh by the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during his visit in 2011,” Karim said.

Garment exports to India had risen from $55.02 million to $75.21 million in 2012-2013, an increase of over 36 per cent.

On Bangladesh’s continuous participation at the Guwahati trade fair for the past five years, he said it was a clear and unambiguous signal of the country’s strong commitment to cement development and trading partnership with India in general and the Northeast in particular.

“In this unique trade fair, we shall try to showcase Bangladesh’s export strength, history, culture. We consider this an excellent opportunity to strengthen our partnership with the Northeast,” he said.

Altogether 40 companies from Bangladesh are taking part in the 17-day fair being organised by the Industries and Trade Fair Association of Assam. Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Nepal and Myanmar are the other nations taking part in the event.

Asked about the land-swap deal, Karim said the two countries needed to adopt a humanitarian approach and not view it as a transaction. “There are 55,000 people living in enclaves on both sides. So, their security will have to be taken into consideration,” he told reporters.


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