Home Business Dhaka raises a dozen non-tariff barriers: DELHI TRADE TALKS

Dhaka raises a dozen non-tariff barriers: DELHI TRADE TALKS

Dhaka raised a dozen non-tariff barriers, including lack of infrastructure and facilities in land customs stations, affecting businesses with New Delhi at bilateral trade talks in the Indian capital in the past week, commerce ministry officials said. The two-day Bangladesh-India joint working group meeting on trade ended on June 9 resolving to address para-tariff and non-tariff barriers to both way trade, ministry of commerce joint secretary Munir Chowdhury told New Age on Monday. Munir, who led the eight-member delegation at the trade talks, said that the meeting decided that a joint group of high-level government officials from Bangladesh and India would visit land customs stations and such visit would be the basis for future development in the land ports and customs stations. ‘A high-powered joint group on land port infrastructure development would soon be formed to help to improve the infrastructure and increase facilities at land ports and customs stations,’ Munir said. Above 80 per cent export and import between Bangladesh and India takes place through 29 land ports and about 160 land customs stations. The two-way trade volume was $7.07 billion in 2014-15 while goods of only $621.37 million were exported from Bangladesh to India, according to government data. At the joint working committee meeting, Bangladesh handed a list of eight land customs stations in the Indian side, outlining required facilities and physical infrastructure development to facilitate export from Bangladesh. At the meeting, Bangladesh side also pushed the India to recognise test certificates of the Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution as both the countries signed memo and cooperation agreement on standardisation. ‘It is a matter of great concern that Indian authority does not recognise the BSTI certifications of 29 items, mostly food and chemicals, as stipulated in the bilateral deals,’ a senior official at the commerce ministry said. He said that the Indian side assured Bangladesh team that they would solve the issue immediately. The Indian side agreed to construct two new land customs stations opposite to the proposed two in Bangladesh – Kalairag-Nazirgaon in Companiganj in Sylhet and Bashtala Colonybazar checkpoint at Doarabazar upazilla in Sunamgonj, sources said. Munir said they requested their counterpart to boost banking facilities in North-East India, as inadequate bank branches usually caused problems to Bangladeshi exporters. ‘Number of banks in North-East India authorised to handle foreign currency transactions and open L/C is very limited. Moreover, these banks cannot make transactions directly with banks in Bangladesh. This is a major impediment to trade between Bangladesh and North-East India,’ a senior official at the commerce ministry said.