Indian Commerce and Industries Minister Anand Sharma recently visited Bangladesh. Talks with the minister’s Bangladeshi counterpart, Faruk Khan, in Dhaka, recognized that there has been a significant increase in bilateral trade. In the first three quarters of 2010-11, Bangladeshi exports to India have outstripped the total figure of last year, having touched US$359 million. Last year the figure stood at US$304 million. As part of the measures to promote trade and economic cooperation, India has raised the duty-free quota of readymade garments by 25% and countervailing duties on all jute exports from Bangladesh has been lifted. Anand Sharma also announced that private sector investment from India to Bangladesh to the tune of US $3.5 billion was in the pipeline. In addition, 50 Indian investors, including Tata, Birla and TVS Group, have sought a special economic Zone (SEZ) to be set up in Bangladesh for joint ventures. These steps would not only help balance the trade gap but also provide new employment opportunities and value addition to Bangladeshi exports to the rest of the world.
Md Jawaid Akhtar is Research Officer, Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS). He could be contacted by email: firstname.lastname@example.org