GUWAHATI, Oct 22 - Noting that “unpredictable and non-transparent regulatory barriers” are major hindrances of trade facilitation in the region, Bangladesh today called for expeditious resolution of non-tariff barriers hampering expansion of trade between the two countries.
“The regulatory barriers are of serious concerns for all of us. Despite high level political commitment, we are far behind in removing them. In many cases they are mounting over the time,” Bangladesh Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi said addressing the India-Bangladesh Stakeholders’ Meeting here.
He said there is a need to expeditiously address the non-tariff barriers, such as testing of product quality, presence of para-tariff, port restriction, application of trade remedial measures, export restriction and fixation of minimum export price, etc.
“Proactive actions will help expand our bilateral trade, particularly with the Northeast,” he said, asking the stakeholders’ meeting to critically examine the potential of trade through the surface route.
Economic Advisor to the Bangladesh Prime Minister AKM Mashiur Rahman flagged several issues that were roadblocks for expansion of trade between Bangladesh and India. Absence of quality testing laboratory on the border in the Northeast was one such roadblock, he said.
“An exporter can’t wait for long. He has to send his goods to places like Chennai for testing before it is exported. We need a couple of labs on this side of the border,” he said.
He also suggested that the customs and immigration inspections should be clubbed to avoid hassles and time overruns.
“If there can be a joint inspection by the customs and immigration, it will be much easier. Europe has done this and this is something we should move towards,” he said.
Over the last 10 years, the trade between the two countries increased from $ 5.08 billion in the fiscal 2010-11 to $ 8.90 billion in the fiscal 2018-19. Bangladesh’s exports to India is only $ 1.25 billion and the neighbouring country is yet to fully utilize the duty-free market access for most of the products under SAFTA, the Bangladesh minister added.