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Indian businesses seek FTA with Bangladesh

Daily Star, Dhaka

Indian businesses seek FTA with Bangladesh

Buyer-seller meet kicks off

Star Business Report

27 August 2006

A business delegation of India yesterday underscored the need for inking a free trade agreement (FTA) between Bangladesh and India to boost trade between the two countries.

Serious consideration is going on for signing the Dhaka-Delhi FTA, said Samir Kumar Ghosh, who is leading the 13-member business delegation.

"The volume of business between the two countries is far below its potential. And I am confident, representatives of both the countries would be able to come to a decision for signing the FTA on win-win basis giving a further impetus to enhance the volume of trade between the two countries," said Ghosh, also the chairman of Chemicals and Allied Products Export Promotion Council (CAPEXIL) of India, addressing the inauguration of a two-day buyer-seller meet at the DCCI auditorium in the capital.

CAPEXIL, Indian High Commission in Dhaka and Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) are jointly organising the event titled ’Buyer-Seller Meet cum Exhibition’ to explore new business avenues and develop partnership between Bangladeshi and Indian business communities.

Echoing Ghosh, Economic and Commercial Minister of Indian High Commission in Dhaka DN Srivastava also underscored the need for increasing bilateral trade under FTA, which will help Bangladesh to reduce the trade gap.

Inaugurating the event, Bangladesh state minister for finance said removal of tariff and non-tariff barriers can reduce the huge trade gap, which is in favour of India, between the two neighbouring countries.

"Besides, we have to increase our industrial base and diversify our exportable products to reduce the gap," said Shah Muhammad Abul Hussain.

He said Bangladesh is exporting many products such as ceramic, melamine, process food, lead acid battery and pharmaceutical products to many developed countries, including the EU. "These products can also be exported to India," he maintained.

He hoped that the buyer-seller meet will not only explore the personal business avenues, but it will also help increase the trade between the two countries.

Speaking at the function, DCCI President MA Momen said the meet creates an ample scope for more interactions and dissemination of information amongst the business communities about each other’s products.

"We may have thus become more active partners of development under the challenging industrial and business environment of globalisation in which businessmen and industrialists of both the countries have been striving hard to reap maximum benefits from the world trade," he said.

Inviting the Indian entrepreneurs to invest here, Momen said if SAFTA is made properly effective among the South Asian nations, trade and investment within this region will increase significantly.

In FY 2005-06, Bangladesh exported products worth US$ 123.79 million to India and imported products worth $ 1800.18 million from that country.

On the sideline of the buyer-seller meet, the Indian team is also showcasing a wide range of products, including automobile tubes, rubber moulded automobile parts,

v-belts for off-road equipment, paper, paper products and stationery/office supplies, books, magazine, journals, green marble, tiles and slabs.

Blocks, safety fuse, industrial ancillary supplies, manganese dioxide, manganese oxide, adhesives and high and low tension porcelain electrical insulator are also being exhibited on the sideline of the meet.