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Dhaka, Delhi agree to map out product standards

The Daily Star, Dhaka

28 March 2004

Dhaka, Delhi agree to map out product standards

Pallab Bhattacharya, from Delhi

India and Bangladesh have agreed on a time-bound programme to recognise each other’s certification of commodities like food products, agro-products, textiles and leather, in a bid to remove a major non-tariff barrier in bilateral trade.

The two countries also agreed to map out the certification of Bangladeshi products by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS).

The decisions were taken at the second meeting of India-Bangladesh Joint Working Group on Trade held here on March 23 and 24.

The issue of BIS approval for Bangladeshi goods came up in the meeting with specific reference to Bangladesh’s cement exports and made significant progress, official sources here said yesterday.

The BIS will inspect the Bangladesh cement plant in the middle of April this year when the Indian High Commission in Dhaka would arrange a round-table meeting with potential Bangladeshi applicants of the 109 products listed for mandatory certification earlier notified by BIS to clarify their doubts, they said.

The draft of the revised India-Bangladesh trade, agreed to by both sides at the joint working group meeting after negotiations for nearly a year, will be signed at a high level meeting on a mutually convenient date, according to the sources. The meeting also agreed to press ahead with discussions on the possibility of a bilateral free trade agreement between India and Bangladesh.

Both sides noted that the proposal of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industries to organize an exhibition of Bangladeshi products in Kolkata sometime in early September this year would help boost trade between the two countries.