Seminar on Improved connecitvity

Seminar on “Improved Connectivity: Unlocking Economic Potential between India and Bangladesh” jointly organized by High Commission of India in Bangladesh and Dhaka Chamber of Commerce & Industry (DCCI) was held at Le Meridien Hotel, Dhaka on March 16, 2023. Adviser to the Honourable Prime Minister on Economic Affairs, Government of Bangladesh Dr. Mashiur Rahman was present as the Chief Guest.

Adviser to the Honourable Prime Minister on Economic Affairs, Government of Bangladesh Dr. Mashiur Rahman said in terms of export and import we may think using local currencies for our bilateral trade. At present, the investment environment in Bangladesh is very friendly therefore he invited more Indian companies to invest here in Bangladesh either in the form of joint ventures. In terms of railway connectivity, few development projects like construction of Jamuna railway bridge is under progress which will create an ample opportunities for bilateral trade. He also requested to consider the issue of anti-dumping duty on raw jute export from Bangladesh. He also underscored the importance of seamless transshipment of Bangladeshi products through India. He also urged that easy visa process is needed for smooth communication of businessmen of both countries.

DCCI President Barrister Md. Sameer Sattar said that the bilateral trade between Bangladesh and India is $16 billion in FY2022. But there are scopes to expand the bilateral trade to minimum $20 billion through addressing non-tariff barriers and connectivity related challenges. He also referred World Bank’s report that seamless transport connectivity of India and Bangladesh has the potential to increase national income by 17% in Bangladesh and 8% in India. Connectivity improvement between the North Eastern Region of India and Bangladesh is essential to support the regional market needs and improve our trade with India.

High Commissioner of India in Bangladesh H.E. Pranay Verma said smooth connectivity is crucial for boosting trade and commerce between our two countries. He added that land routes, railways and even waterways between Bangladesh and India can be expanded more. During the last decade, the bilateral trade between Bangladesh and India remarkably increased and he opined that comprehensive economic partnership agreement (CEPA) could be a game changer for both the countries in terms of trade and commerce. Stronger connectivity is the driving force for economic prosperity, he noted. Infrastructure development of seven land customs stations is under progress that will help boost both-way trade, he added. He also mentioned that currently 7 border haats are being operated but in future this number will be increased.

Officials from the Indian High Commission made the presentation on connectivity initiatives between India and Bangladesh. The presentation highlighted that 40% trade is happening through land ports of which 70% is happening through Benapol-Petrapol land port. In the last five years bilateral trade has been doubled and during the last three years Bangladesh’s export to India has been doubled. They also underscored on developing inland waterways, coastal shipping, air and railway connectivity. Northeastern region of India is potential for Bangladesh to do more business. India’s access to use Mongla and Chattogram port is beneficial both for Bangladesh and India. After completion of India-Bangladesh pipeline, 1 million metric ton diesel per year can be transported to Bangladesh, they added.

Farooq Sobhan, Former Foreign Secretary of Bangladesh, Anis Ud-Dowlah, former President, MCCI, DCCI’s former Presidents Matiur Rahman, Asif Ibrahim, Md. Sabur Khan, Shams Mahmud, DCCI Directors Khairul Majid Mahmud, Malik Talha Ismail Bari also spoke on the occasion. Speakers urged to address the issues of tariff and para tariff barriers and anti-dumping duties on jute through CEPA. They also invited Indian entrepreneurs to invest in the ICT and healthcare sector in Bangladesh. Later, speakers also stressed on easing visa procedures especially business visa for Bangladeshi businessmen to facilitate trade and investment activities. They also requested to increase more border haats and increase infrastructure of land ports in the Indian part. Most of the Indian investment in Bangladesh are G2G, they said private investment should come more.

DCCI Senior Vice President S M Golam Faruk Alamgir (Arman) gave the closing remarks.

Published on: 2023-03-16

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