India allows more tariff-free garment imports
Union Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma has said that the India-Bangladesh border haats (markets) will be inaugurated in June this year that would boost bilateral trade. He also said more Indian investments in Bangladesh would provide employment and value addition for the neighbouring country's exports to the rest of the world. Mr. Sharma, who is currently visiting Bangladesh, said it has been decided to step up schedule for completion of border haats in Meghalaya for a formal launch in June. Both nations were strengthening infrastructure at borders, including construction of land custom stations and integrated check posts, particularly at Petrapole and Agartala, to facilitate trade. A working group on infrastructure would coordinate implementation, Mr. Sharma said.
Pointing out that there has been significant increase in trade between the two sides, Mr. Sharma said Bangladesh exports had increased six times in the last few years. In the first three quarters of the current year, it has reached $359 million, which is higher than the exports of $304 million last year. He also stressed on the need to further strengthen economic integration between the two countries and noted that private sector investment from India to Bangladesh to the tune of $3.5 billion is in the pipeline.
The Minister said India and Bangladesh have agreed to take further steps to promote trade and economic cooperation. India has offered a tariff-free quota of 10 million pieces of apparel exports from Bangladesh, marking an increase of 25 per cent over previous years, while countervailing duties were lifted on all jute exports from Bangladesh.
India has offered assistance in the construction of the bridge over river Feni, including the construction of the connecting road on the Bangladesh side. On the other hand, India has welcomed the offer of use of Chittagong and Mongola ports that would provide tremendous benefit for trade and development of Bangladesh and the North-East of India, he said.
The Minister noted with satisfaction that the steady development in trade and the economic relations between the two countries, which has received stimulus after the historic visit of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to India in January 2010, during which she and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh concluded the Joint Communiqué where both sides agreed to intensify discussions at official and technical levels to provide further impetus to trade and economic exchanges.
Keywords: India-Bangladesh ties