Dhaka-Delhi Free Trade Arrangement
BD export growth to India sluggish
Published : Tuesday, 12 February, 2019 at 9:14 AM Count : 244
Bangladesh export to India is not growing to the expectation of the exporters despite the country is enjoying duty free exports under the South Asian Free Trade arrangement business leaders here said.
Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) trade figure shows Bangladesh's export to India grew at a snail pace by over USD $361 million from 2012 to $ 873 million in the first half of 2018.
It was $ 498.42 million in fiscal 2012. Truly export earnings grew over the period but not to the expectation of the nation, business leaders said pointing to India's huge annual exports to Bangladesh at $ 5,983 million last year. Taking together India's informal export to Bangladesh the figure would stand much higher.
The trade gap is disappointing and must come down, business leaders here said as many believe India is not willing to effectively open its market to Bangladesh's export.
Vice President of Bangladesh-India Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BICCI) M. Shoeb Chowdhury told The Daily Observer on Sunday that a holistic approach is needed to address the trade issues by which Bangladesh export will better grow along with growing Indian export to Bangladesh.
Mohammad Ali - a director of BICCI held almost similar opinion calling for greater efforts by Bangladesh government to secure sincere Indian cooperation in this respect.
Soeb Chowdhury said Bangladeshi exporters are facing many problems neutralizing benefits of duty free exports to Indian market. India must know if Bangladesh can export more its export to Bangladesh will also more grow with the growing repayment capacity.
M. Shoeb Chowdhury said "Bangladesh exporters are making huge exports to Europe and United State and other emerging markets. In this case India could be one of our big markets for readymade garments, Jute goods and many other products.
It is yet to be materialized and why Indian market is not opening bigger to the expectations of Bangladeshi exporters can't be properly explained. Export of jute and jute goods to India is facing bottleneck with extra duty. Garment exports not growing enough for non-tariff reasons despite duty free access.
EPB sources said besides jute and garments, Bangladesh has huge export capacity of jute twine, cane molasses, engineering products, furnace oil, frozen fish, sacks and bags, Cement, Betel nuts, Knit and woven garments, cut flower, rice bran oil, copper wire, agro processed food, soap and toiletries, jamdani saree, mosquito net, accumulator battery etc.
But breakthrough is not taking place to bring boost to the country's export to India. It is not enough if export to India grew only by $ 361 by a period of eight years. There can be a big boost to Bangladesh's exports to the India's northeast.
But it remains stalled, several business leaders said demanding not to be named.
SM Rezwan Hossain, Additional Secretary in Ministry of Commerce told The Daily Observer, that the government has taken many initiatives to increase export to Indian market in last few years. As a result the export has increased.
Government sources said the government is working with India to achieve the desired results. Several committees are working at various level to enhance the country's bilateral trade with India. In Bangladesh-India Joint consultative meeting held in Delhi in February this year the trade issues were high on the table but Bangladesh is looking for a break which is yet to come, most business leaders in Dhaka said.
Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dr Ak Abdul Momen and his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj co-chaired the JCC meeting.
Beside this, Commerce Secretary level meeting, Joint Working Group (JWG) on Trade, Joint Committee meeting on Border Haats and meeting of many such groups are taking place regularly. The last Commerce Secretary level meeting from both countries also discussed the trade issues in August last year.
Khondaker Golam Moazzem, research director of the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) said it is true export to Indian market has witnessed sharp rise. But it must grow further in the back of huge Indian exports.