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Indian state minister for commerce due today

Daily Star, Bangladesh

Indian state minister for commerce due today

By Diplomatic Correspondent

21 July 2007

Indian State Minister for Commerce Jairam Ramesh will arrive in Dhaka today on a two-day official visit to hold talks on bilateral trade.

The issue of trade barriers faced by Bangladeshi exporters is likely to figure prominently in the talks.

According to officials, India’s exports to Bangladesh during April 2006-Feburary 2007, were $ 1.5 billion while imports from Bangladesh were $ 205 million.

Dhaka has expressed concern as it runs a large trade deficit and has also been pointing out what it feels are unfair non-tariff barriers to its exports to India.

Ramesh will also attend the launching ceremony of India-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IBCCI) at Sonargaon Hotel tomorrow.

President Iajuddin Ahmed will formally launch the IBCCI while Indian High Commissioner Pinak Ranjan Chakravarty will attend the programme as special guest.

Official sources said Ramesh will also meet Adviser for Communications, Shipping and Civil Aviation Major Gen (retd) MA Matin, Finance Adviser AB Mirza M Azizul Islam and prominent members of the business community.

Ramesh last visited Dhaka in April 2006 to attend the first meeting of the Safta Ministerial Council. He inaugurated the first ever Bangladesh Single Country Fair in Agartala in March this year.

The official statement issued in New Delhi said the minister of state for commerce has taken special interest in developing projects to upgrade infrastructure at land customs stations along the India-Bangladesh border in West Bengal, Assam, Tripura and Meghalaya, particularly at Petrapole in West Bengal through which about two-thirds of bilateral trade take place.