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Indian PM's visit raises hope of duty-free waiver on RMG exports
Jul '11
During a meeting with the visiting Indian External Affairs Minister SM Krishna on July 7, Bangladesh's Commerce Minister Faruk Khan discussed the issue of duty-free access for RMG items to Indian markets and hoped that India would grant the much-awaited facility during the scheduled visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Bangladesh on September 6-7 this year.

The Minister said that Bangladesh has been discussing with India for over two years now on duty-free access for 61 items, which includes 54 readymade garments (RMG).

In April this year, India increased the volume of Bangladesh's export of RMG products under the duty-free quota to 10 million pieces from the earlier 8 million pieces.

Bangladesh exported US$ 16.91 million worth of woven garments to India during the initial nine months until March this fiscal, according to the statistics of the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB). The figure for fiscal 2008-09 and 2009-10 was US$ 10.25 million and US$ 9.99 million respectively.

Similarly, Bangladesh exported US$ 5.24 million worth of knitwear items during July-March period of fiscal 2010-11. Compared to this, the figure was US$ 2.54 million in fiscal 2009-10 and US$ 1.70 million in fiscal 2008-09, according to the EPB data.

The figures indicate that there has been a sharp rise this year in Bangladesh's export of woven garments and knitwear products to India. However, the trade balance between the two countries is heavily tilted in favour of India, although Bangladesh's share is increasing slightly due to RMG exports.

In fiscal 2009-10, Bangladesh exported goods worth US$ 254.66 million to India, but imported a substantial US$ 2.43 billion of goods during the same period.

The Minister said that reduction of bilateral trade gap has been one of the reasons for Bangladesh asking the Indian Government to remove duty and lift the limit on export quota of Bangladeshi goods, especially RMG.

He added that during the visit of the Indian Prime Minister, Bangladesh would urge him to remove tariff, para-tariff and non-tariff barriers on export of Bangladeshi goods to India and to increase trade facilities in the area bordering the two countries.

He further said a request has been already made to the Indian Government to improve the land ports and customs stations on the borders to facilitate more bilateral trade. Many customs check-points lack enough truck stands needed for loading and unloading of cargo, he added.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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