NEW DELHI, March 30 � In keeping with the changed bilateral ties, Bangladesh has agreed to renew the Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade in line with the decision to renew the existing trade treaty, even as India urged Bangladesh to remove port restrictions that is hampering export from North-east.
The decision was conveyed by Bangladesh at the two-day India-Bangladesh Commerce Secretary-level discussions on Trade and Transit that concluded here last evening. The Indian delegation was led by Commerce Secretary, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Rahul Khullar while the Bangladesh delegation was led by Secretary, Ministry of Commerce, Ghulam Hussain.
Official sources said the Indian side stated that port restrictions in Bangladesh were hindering bilateral trade. It was conveyed that port restrictions imposed by Bangladesh particularly on items like yarn, milk powder, fish, sugar and potatoes are affecting Indian exports particularly from West Bengal and North Eastern States. The Indian side requested that these port restrictions be removed.
The Bangladesh side assured positive consideration regarding liberalisation of land port restrictions, said sources.
The sources said that New Delhi stated that all feasible transhipment may be allowed to continue with the existing infrastructure at Ashuganj Port without waiting for upgrade of infrastructure. Movement of foodgrains for Tripura may also be facilitated. Goods may also be allowed to be sent through appropriate customs bond rather than insisting on bank guarantees, which add unnecessarily to the freight costs.
Meanwhile, the second Border Haat (Balat-Lauwaghar) may come into operation before its formal inauguration. Bangladesh has conveyed its approval for opening of four Border Haats along the border of Tripura. They are examining the proposal for opening of Border Haats along the border of Mizoram, said the sources.
Addendum to the Mode of Operation of Border Haats for liberalising trade was also handed over for consideration of the Bangladesh side, sources said.