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Digital system hits Indo-Bangla trade

 AGARTALA, Aug 20 - The new online trade management system – Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) – has been suspended as it was hindering India’s trade with Bangladesh in the North-east due to technical issues and lack of familiarity among the concerned stakeholders, officials said on Tuesday.

“Due to technical issues being faced for implementation of EDI, it has been decided to defer the roll-out of EDI and the new date of implementations would be intimated in due course,” a customs official quoted Sikkim-headquartered Commissioner of Customs, KAshi Khieya, as saying.

In the EDI system, submission of trade-related documents and papers and payment of various duties have to be made online using the digital system.

“The EDI was introduced on August 5 in six border trade centres in the north-eastern states along the India-Bangladesh and India-Myanmar borders to improve efficiency, ensure transparency and for online payments of trade between the countries,” the customs official said on condition of anonymity.

Haradhan Roy, a spokesman of Indian exporters, told the media here: “Both the customs officials and the traders are completely unfamiliar with the new system, causing ineffective operation of the EDI system. Before introduction of the new system, the concerned stakeholders must be trained.”

He said they have told the customs officials about their unfamiliarity with the new digital system and the consequent effect on exports and imports.

The six India-Bangladesh trading locations include Karimganj Steamerghat and Ferry Stations Land Customs Stations (LCSs) in Assam, Muhurighat, Srimantapur, Agartala LCSs in Tripura and Moreh LCS in Manipur.

Traders at the Agartala-Akhaura checkpost said that on account of the introduction of the new system trade between India and Bangladesh has come to a halt since August 5.

Roy said that cross-border trade through many LCSs in the northeastern states, including the Agartala-Akhaura Integrated Checkpost (ICP), has been halted. – IANS

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