Speakers at a workshop on Wednesday called for removing non-tariff barriers (NTBs), improving customs facilities in the both ends of land ports and ensuring better connectivity to increase trade between Bangladesh and Northeast India.
Emphasising on the need for a market assessment study, they said both the countries should identify their respective exportable agriculture and horticulture items in terms of seasonality, demand and production cost.
The suggestions came at a consultation workshop on 'Enhancing Trade in Agri-Horticulture Products between Northeast India and Bangladesh' jointly organised by India-based Asian Confluence and Unnayan Shamannay in the capital.
Former Governor of Bangladesh Bank Dr. Atiur Rahman addressed the programme as chief guest while Unnayan Shamannay Emeritus Fellow Professor Dr AK Enamul Haque, Asian Confluence Senior Fellow Prithiviraj Nath, Joint Secretary of Ministry of Commerce AHM Ahsan and National Board of Revenue (NBR) Member (VAT Audit and Intelligence) Md Masud Sadiq also spoke.
Dr. Atiur said there are huge opportunities of financing in trade and industries in the region of Bangladesh and Northeast India due to their geographical advantage.
Carrying agri-horticulture products from western to northeastern part of India is very costly which the country can reduce significantly by importing from Bangladesh, he said.
To facilitate traders of both countries, he suggested removing the NTBs along with improving customs procedure, road and rail connectivity and above all increasing people to people connection by easing the visa process.
Dr. Atiur, also founder Chairperson of Unnayan Shamannay, said that with proper plan and removing diverse barriers, Bangladesh can triple its export to India.
Professor Dr AK Enamul Haque said plant quarantine facility needed to be installed or modernised at Tamabil-Dawki and Akhaura-Agartala land ports in both countries.
NBR Member Mr. Sadiq said the revenue authority is working on developing 'national single window' to ease trade operations by eliminating paper work and reducing time through maintaining up-to-date information by 2023.
Asian Confluence Senior Fellow Mr Nath said traders of both countries should first identify specific products for exporting and then hold discussion to remove the barriers.
He said there is a potential market for Bangladeshi traders to export potato, betel leaf, mango, animal feed, and chilli in northeast India while Indian traders can export orange and spices.