SYLHET, June 27: Speakers at a programme here today said that India's northeastern states and Bangladesh have huge potentials to reduce the yawning trade gap between the two neighbouring countries.
Demands for Bangladeshi products have been growing fast in the N-E states, especially Assam, Meghalaya and Tripura while there are opportunities for investment in different sectors as the connectivity has imporved well, they observed.
Guwahati-Dhaka direct flights will be started from July 1, they said at an exchange of views meeting, organised by the Sylhet Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI).
Chaired by SCCI administrator Asad Uddin Ahmed, the meeting was attended by the visiting 20-member delegation from Assam, led by Assam's Industry and Commerce Minister Shri Chandra Mohan Patowary.
Indian Assistant Indian High Commissioner in Sylhet L Krishnamurty, Bangladesh's Assistant High Commissioner in Guwahati Md. Tanvir Mansur, Director of Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) Khondaker Shipar Ahmed, SCCI's former vice-president Emdad Hossain, Nasim Ahmed of Nurjahan Grand Hotel, Commissioner of Customs & VAT, Sylhet, Golam Munir, Additional Secretary of the Ministry of Commerce, Bangladesh, Shafiqul Islam and Additional Chief Secretary of Assam Social Welfare Jishnu Barua were also present and spoke.
"In line with the Indian central government's policy, we are working to improve bilateral trade and business in this region," said Chandra Mohan Patowary who was the chief guest at the meeting.
"We have potentialities in trade, educaton, health and tourism sectors," he noted.
Guahati-Dhaka direct flights would be started from July 1 which will open a new era in the regional connectivity, he said.
There would more flights to other cities like Bangkok, Singapore, etc., he informed.
Appreciating the organisers of the meeting, the Indian delegation leader said through such initiatives, we would be able to wrok on more trade and business.
There are huge scopes of investment in Assam and other states, the Assam minister said.
Addressing the event, SCCI administrator urged the Indians for investing in the SEZs in Bangaledsh and in the hightech park being set up at Companiganj in Sylhet.
More than 80 business people and government officials from both sides joined the event. The visiting Indian delegation also met Sylhet City Corporation mayor and Deputy Commissioner of Sylhet district separately.
"Concerned authorities and organisations should give more attention since India has a big market of food and processed items of Bangladesh," speakers said.
Already many of Bangladeshi firms have a got a good access there, the said.
Indian delegates praised the Bangladesh's success in the garment export to the European marke.
The Indians said: "We have discussions with Bangladesh officials on how to address the impediments in the business sector. Alongside other steps, we are working raising the connectivity on every possible ways."
Bangaledeshi speakers said existing facilities at the land port and land customs stations, especially at Tamabil and others along the Meghalaya and Assam borders have already been developed. But the Indian side need to be further improved, they mentioned.
Such event will facilitate direct interaction between 'potential investors, buyers with producers and will also help them to understand quality, the speakers added.