Slashed its sensitive list under SAFTA for less developed countries and granted duty-free access to Bangladesh

Stating that the “brutal trade imbalance” enjoyed by it over Bangladesh was unacceptable, India, on Monday, said in a bid to deepen the relationship and promote economic engagement, it would promote massive investments into Bangladesh for creating jobs and economic opportunities for the local population and make the country a major hub for exports into India and other parts of the world.

“We want to dispel the ‘Big Brother’ impression and work hand-in-hand with the people of Bangladesh and its government to ensure economic prosperity. We are creating an environment where Indian companies are being asked to invest heavily in Bangladesh and grab the opportunity to take advantage of cheap manufacturing facilities and then export the goods to India and other parts of the world. We are not here to compete with Bangladesh in textiles or any other fields but to supplement the efforts to create jobs and deepen economic engagement,” Commerce Secretary S. R. Rao said at the opening of the ‘India Show’ here.

The event has been organised by the Ministry of Commerce and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and India-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Boost to exports

Terming it as a further integration of economies in South Asia, Mr. Rao said Indian companies should look towards investment in joint ventures with the focus of exporting to the huge Indian market which, in turn, would give a big boost to exports from Bangladesh to India and address the issue of trade imbalance with Bangladesh by encouraging Indian investments in the neighbouring nation, which will lead to increased production of goods which can be further re-exported back to New Delhi. “India’s mission is not to export more and more to Bangladesh as it is emotionally close to our hearts. We are not here to compete with you in any sector. We are here to encourage business, create jobs and re-export products to India where there is a huge market for these goods,” he added.

Around 100 companies, including Tata Motors, Ashok Leyland and BHEL, are showcasing their products in the exhibition.

Bangladesh Commerce Minister Ghulam Muhammed Quader said the partnership between India and Bangladesh had great potential.

Open business environment

“We have a very open business environment in the county and Indian businessmen are welcome to invest in any kind of establishment they want to,” he said.

India slashed its sensitive list under the South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) for less developed countries and granted duty-free access to Bangladesh. Bangladesh had been demanding for a long-time for increased market access for its products to India.

Indian High Commissioner to Dhaka Pankaj Saran said the long-term prospects of such an arrangement were good for both countries. “Bangladesh can become a hub for the North-East region. India intends to help develop ports, waterways, alternate roadways to boost trade and investments,” he added.

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