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India to lift import barriers & FDI ban on Bangladesh

Mar '07
India is considering lifting up of major non-tariff barriers on imports and ban on foreign direct investment (FDI) from Bangladesh.

Commerce Ministry has already taken two specific decisions for fairer and faster import of hilsa fish and Jamdani sarees from Bangladesh.

“We will systematically eliminate all non-tariff barriers,” Union Minister of State for Commerce Jairam Ramesh said here on Saturday while inaugurating a trade fair organized by Bangladesh Government.

This trade fair is the first ever single-country fair being held in India for promoting bilateral cooperation between two countries.
It may be mentioned that both India and Bangladesh are members of South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA).

India is considering importing eight million items of garments from Bangladesh valued at $60-$80 mn. “This will be duty-free and is over and above our commitment under SAFTA,” said Ramesh.

India's export to Bangladesh in 2005-06 stood at $1.7 bn whereas India's import from Bangladesh was just about $150 mn, according to Ramesh.

“I am concerned over the huge trade surplus. I want more imports from Bangladesh,” Ramesh told before inaugurating the fair.

“Unless we allow them to invest in India, they will also not allow us to invest in their countries. We may allow FDI from these countries purely on case to case basis. And unless Indian companies invest in Bangladesh, India will be unable to import more from Bangladesh. In the long run, our trade cannot improve only through exports,” the Minister observed, while stressing on the need to lift ban on FDI from both Bangladesh and Pakistan.

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