SEZ for Indian companies in Bangladesh mooted
By Samiran Saha | ENS | Published: 07th December 2012 10:28 AM |
India has asked its neighbour Bangladesh to allow the use of its territory to Indian companies operating out of Bangladesh to export their goods through the North-Eastern states’ corridor and also earmark land for setting up of India specific special economic zone (SEZ), which would facilitate smoother movement of goods across the two nations.
While India is keen to see Bangladesh as its major trading partner, it is also working to narrow the huge trade gap between the two countries, which is heavily tilted in favour of India now. While Bangladesh exports to India stand at around $536 million, its imports from India is pegged at $4.5 billion.
“We would like Bangladesh to emerge as a strong partner in the region as the economic architecture in future will be dictated by the ASEAN and SAARC countries,” India’s Commerce Secretary SR Rao said.
Rao made these observations after a delegation led by him met Bangladesh Finance Minister Abul Mall Abdul Muhith and Commerce Minister Ghulam Muhammed Quader along with FICCI president, R V Kanoria, who were there in connection with the recently concluded ‘India Show’, jointly organised by the Commerce Ministry and FICCI.
Noting that the trade volume between the two countries was far below the potential, Rao said, “The multi-modal transport, especially waterways and railways, could play a crucial role in giving a fillip to the trade volumes between the two countries.”
The establishment of a rail route between India and Bangladesh will also facilitate trade between the two nations, he added.
Kanoria said it is important that Bangladesh should identify land for setting up a SEZ for the Indian companies wanting to invest in Bangladesh.
“We want a separate SEZ to invest in and also to re-export to India,’’ Kanoria added.
Abdul Matlub Ahmad, president of India Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry was of the view that Bangladesh has failed to fully utilise the trade benefit that arose out of the removal of duty by India on almost all products of Bangladesh. This is because Bangladesh’s export basket is not so rich and therefore it was important that Indian companies come and invest in a big way in the country.
Federation of Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) president Kazi Akram Uddin Ahamed said investment in Bangladesh is well protected by law, and sought Indian investment in textile, electronics, information technology, frozen food, leather, ceramic, light engineering and shipbuilding sectors.
At present, Indian PSUs like NTPC, BHEL, Railways, and private sector companies Tata, Apollo, Marico have strong presence in different regions of Bangladesh.