POST TIME: 7 February, 2018 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 7 February, 2018 01:53:19 AM
Bangladesh-India trade meet
Cargo transhipment through Kolkata airport to be discussed

Cargo transhipment through 
Kolkata airport to be discussed

The Bangladesh government will seek permission for Bangladeshi business cargo shipments, particularly outbound containers packed with readymade garments for export destinations, to use the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport in Kolkata (West Bengal), say sources in the commerce ministry. The matter will come up at the two-day-long commerce secretary-level meeting between Bangladesh and India beginning today in Dhaka.

Earlier, the Bangladesh commerce ministry discussed about this issue being kept on the agenda of the upcoming meeting at the preparatory talks held at the ministry office on January 28, 2018. The ministry has taken the initiative following a proposal by the MGH Group, a local conglomerate engaged in contract logistics, supply chain solutions, ocean carriers and airlines GSA representations, for the transhipment of Bangladeshi cargoes meant for European and US markets through the Benapole-Petrapole land ports and the Kolkata airport.

The government can avail of the benefit under the Bangladesh-India Trade Agreement (BITA), which says the two governments can make mutually beneficial arrangements for the use of their waterways, roadways and railways for commerce between the two countries for passage of goods between two places in one country and to other countries.

Meanwhile, the commerce ministry has sought stakeholders’ opinions, including those of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters’ Association (BGMEA), Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters’ Association (BKMEA) and Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI), on the issue.

Moreover, Bangladeshi exports, particularly readymade garments items, are being badly affected due to lack of airfreight space and other operational challenges at the Hazrat Shah Jalal International Airport in Dhaka.

Commerce ministry sources said an Indian delegation, led by Indian commerce secretary Rita Teaotia, already arrived in Dhaka. Bangladesh commerce secretary Shubhashish Bosu will lead the country’s 16-member delegation at the meeting.

Sources said India was Bangladesh’s second single largest business partner and 10 per cent of trade was being conducted with the next-door neighbour.

According to commerce ministry data, the total trade volume between the two neighbouring countries reached USD 6.8 billion in FY 2016-17. Out of that, Bangladesh imported goods worth USD 6.13 billion and exported to India goods worth only USD 672.4 million.

India has given duty-free access all Bangladeshi products, except 25 products including drugs, tobacco and liquor, with a view to maintaining trade balance.

Bangladesh will emphasise an increase in the facilities of land port customs and their development; review of border ‘haats’ and an increase in the number of haats; recognition of the BSTI certificate; anti-dumping import duty on jute products of Bangladesh; removal of trade barriers; facilities for more product imports through land ports; and the expansion of product transport facilities through road and rail.