Part of measures aimed at narrowing bilateral trade gap

India has asked Bangladesh the use of its territory to help Indian companies operating in Bangladesh export their goods through the North-East States corridor and also sought earmarking land for setting up an India-specific special economic zone (SEZ).

This is being seen as an attempt by India to narrow down the bilateral trade gap that is presently heavily loaded in favour of India.

This facilitation was sought by a delegation led by Commerce Secretary S. R. Rao, when they met Bangladesh Finance Minister Abul Mall Abdul Muhith, Foreign Minister Dipu Moni and Commerce Minister Ghulam Muhammed Quader in different meetings.

Mr. Rao is here in connection with the “India Show”, being jointly organised by the Commerce Ministry and FICCI.

Mr. Rao said the trade volume between the two countries was far below potential and urged the Bangladesh Government to allow use of Bangladesh territory by Indian companies to export goods to North-East Indian States, which would not only reduce costs but also facilitate border trade. “The multi-modal transport, especially waterways and railways, could play a crucial role in giving a big fillip to the trade volumes between the two countries,” he said.

FICCI President R. V. Kanoria said it was important that Bangladesh identify land for setting up a special economic zone (SEZ) for the Indian companies wanting to invest in Bangladesh.

“We want a separate special economic zone to invest in and also to re-export to India. We have submitted a proposal in this regard also,” Mr. Kanoria added.

The delegation also sought improvement of infrastructure along the border areas in order to give a major push to trade and trading activity. Abdul Matlub Ahmad, President of India Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry, was of the view that Bangladesh had failed to fully utilise the trade benefit that arose out of the removal of duty by India on almost all Bangaldesh products.