Bangladesh Exports to India to Reach $1 bln by 2011
Monday, 24 August 2009

Bangladesh's exports to India will reach at least $1 billion by the end of 2011 as customers in that India now find several of its neighbour's products attractive, a business leader said on Sunday.

"Our main focus will be the consumers of north-eastern states of India who preferred Bangladesh products including food items, textiles, melamine products and toiletries" said Abdul Matlub Ahmad, President of India-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

"At the moment negotiations are continuing with India to raise export quotas of ready-made garments to 20 million pieces from 8 million now," Ahmad told Reuters in an interview.

Ahmed is also chairman of Nitol-Niloy Group of Industries, a conglomerate.

Bangladeshi manufacturers started to export bricks to India from last week, a new item on the export list.

Initially Bangladesh will export 400 million bricks worth $40 million to Tripura.

Ready-made garments are the principal export of Bangladesh, which accounts more than 80 percent of the total export earnings of the country.

Bangladesh's exports grew 10.3 percent to $15.56 billion in the 2008/09 fiscal year that ended in June, the lowest growth in six years, data showed, reflecting falling demand as a result of the global economic slump.

Ahmad said exports of Bangladeshi products such as processed foods, cement, plastics, sheet glass, dry fish, furniture and stone chips will grow 10-fold in the next two years.

He said that new Bangladeshi products such as melamine and scrap steels were also finding their way into the north-eastern provinces of India.

"Brick export to India opened up a new but strong potential window for Bangladeshi manufacturers and that will enormously help reduce our trade gap with India," Ahmad said.

This will however hit the local real estate sector as prices of bricks had already more than doubled in the past two years, traders said.

Also, the export to India will encourage business people to set up brick manufacturing fields close to the Indian border to make quick cash and would likely pollute the climate through harmful emissions, environmental groups say.

Most brick fields in the country do not have emission control systems.

Bangladesh imports goods -- mainly vehicles, chemicals, food items, fabrics, cotton and machineries -- worth more than $3 billion from India, India buys about $400 million worth of goods from Bangladesh, they said.


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