ANAND SHARMA CALLS ON SHEIKH HASINA ABANDONED RAIL LINES TO BE RESTORED
Date : 24 Apr 2011
Location : New Delhi
The Union Minister of Commerce and Industry, Shri Anand Sharma called on the Prime Minister of Bangladesh Smt Sheikh Hasina at Dhaka today. The Bangladesh Prime Minister expressed satisfaction over the outcome of the visit of the Indian Minister and called the Indian decisions ‘timely’. She said that measures announced during the visit show India’s firm commitment towards fulfilling the provisions of India-Bangladesh Joint Statement, January 2010.
Both sides agreed that serious efforts are needed to restore the railway lines that went into disuse after 1965 war. Furthermore, India on its part offered buyer’s credit for Indian projects in Bangladesh which will enhance the competitiveness of Indian investors.
In a highly successful two-day visit the Indian Minister of Commerce and Industry also met Finance, Commerce, Foreign, Food and disaster management Ministers of Bangladesh and also addressed Joint Business meeting of FICCI and Bangladesh apex business chamber. India renewed its offer to export 300,000 tonnes of par-boiled rice to Bangladesh and finalise options for lifting of the grain at the earliest.
During the visit India got further assurance on the use of Chittagong and Mongola ports and the Minister noted that this will provide tremendous benefit for trade and development of Bangladesh and the North-East of India. Similarly, there was stepping up of schedule for completion of border haats in Meghalaya for a formal launch in June 2011. Shri Shrama noted that private sector investment from India to Bangladesh to the tune of US $ 3.5 billion is in the pipeline. Increased Indian investments in Bangladesh will provide employment and value addition for Bangladesh exports to the rest of the world.
India has offered many trade concession which found good resonance in Bangladesh and set many misapprehensions concerning India’s stance to rest. These include, enhanced tariff-free quota of 10 million pieces of apparel exports from Bangladesh, marking an increase of 25% over previous years. Lifting of countervailing duties on Bangladesh Jute items, strengthening of infrastructure at borders, including construction of Land Custom Stations and Integrated Check Posts, particularly at Petrapole and Agartala such that trade is facilitated.
Furthermore, India welcomed the submission of DPRs by the Bangladesh side for infrastructure projects under the US $ 1 billion LOC. These projects are expected to be implemented shortly. Bureau of Indian Standard will coordinate with Bangladesh standard regulators to upgrade their capacities so that mutual recognition of certification can be taken further after National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) recognized their mechanical, biological and chemical accreditations.
The trade has increased significantly between the two sides. Bangladesh exports have increased 6 times in the last few years. In the first three quarters of the current year, it has reached the level of US $ 359 million, which is higher than the exports of US $ 304 million last year.