Between India and Bangladesh need more trade routes
Tuesday, 29 January 2008


Indian high commissioner in Dhaka Pinak Ranjan Chakravarty Sunday called for opening up more trade routes between Bangladesh and India to promote bilateral trade and economic development. ‘We need to move forward with proposals for improving connectivity - road, rail, airways, shipping and inland waterways,’ he told the monthly luncheon meeting of Foreign Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry at the Sonargaon Hotel.

 FICCI president Wali Bhuiyan welcomed the foreign investors operating in Bangladesh at the meeting. Chakravarty said India is ready to move at a faster pace to strengthen connectivity and expects similar response from Bangladesh. He also stressed the need for focussing more on promoting mutual investments and technology collaborations as foreign investors seek fair, transparent process and predictable policy regime.

‘I’m aware the government of Bangladesh is committed to facilitate investments in Bangladesh,’ the Indian high commissioner said, adding that there were significant proposals from Indian industrial giants to invest in the country. He said there were other small and medium sized Indian firms, who would be interested in investing in Bangladesh that hold considerable potential for increasing exports to India and thus addressing the trade imbalance.

In 2006-07, Bangladesh imported goods worth over $2.5 billion as compared to its exports of only $290 million. Chakravarty said India recognised the need for addressing the trade imbalance and the perceived non-tariff barriers, and both sides were looking at ways and means to address both. Replying to a question whether cooperation in real term is possible with mistrust between the peoples of the two countries, he said the mistrust would not be removed ‘unless we start working together.’

‘We’re ready to join hand and to reconnect… it’s your country’s political leadership to take the decision in this regard,’ he said, adding that one cannot do it overnight. Replying to another question, the Indian envoy said the procedure to export 8 million pieces of apparel items from Bangladesh to India at reduced tariff is almost done and only some bureaucratic process was pending. It could take place after the next meeting of the Indian cabinet. He told a questioner that India has a plan to reduce its negative list of products from over 700 items to 200, but readymade garments would still be in the list.

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