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Anand Sharma for better ties with Bangladesh

Aarti Dhar

New Delhi, Dhaka to intensify talks to improve trade, economic exchanges

— PHOTO: PTI

Union Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma with Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina during a meeting in Dhaka on Sunday.

NEW DELHI: Union Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma has stressed the need to further strengthen economic ties between India and Bangladesh. The two sides have agreed to intensify discussions at official and technical levels to provide further impetus to trade and economic exchanges.

Speaking during his ongoing visit to Bangladesh, Mr. Sharma said private sector investment from India to Bangladesh to the tune of $ 3.5 billion was in the pipeline. An increased Indian investment in Bangladesh would provide employment and value addition for exports from Dhaka.

Both sides noted that bilateral trade had increased significantly with exports from Bangladesh having increased six times in the last few years. In the first three quarters of the current year, the exports have reached the level of $ 359 million, which is higher than $ 304 million last year.

Both countries agreed to take further steps to promote trade and economic cooperation. India has offered a tariff-free quota of 10 million pieces of apparel exports from Bangladesh, marking an increase of 25 per cent over previous years.

Jute exports

Countervailing Duty has been lifted on all jute exports from Bangladesh. It has been proposed to strengthen infrastructure at borders, including construction of Land Custom Stations and Integrated Check Posts, particularly at Petrapole and Agartala. A Working Group on Infrastructure will coordinate the implementation.

The schedule has been stepped up for completion of border haats in Meghalaya for a formal launch in June 2011 and India has welcomed the submission of Detailed Project Reports by the Bangladesh side for infrastructure projects under the $ 1 billion LOC. These projects are expected to be implemented shortly.

Bridge construction

India has also offered assistance in the construction of a bridge over river Feni, including the laying of the connecting road on the Bangladesh side.

India renewed its offer to export 3,00,000 tonnes of par-boiled rice to Bangladesh and finalise options for lifting the grain at the earliest.

New Delhi welcomed the offer of use of the Chittagong and Mongola ports and noted that this would provide tremendous benefit for trade and development of Bangladesh and the northeastern parts of India.

India is awaiting Bangladesh's response to the draft modalities proposed by it.

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