Monday, February 18, 2019 | ePaper

Dhaka-Delhi trade deficit balloons

India urged to remove non-tariff, para tariff barriers

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Kazi Zahidul Hasan  :
Bangladesh's trade deficit with India marked an incremental rise year-on-year even if both the countries are enjoying excellent bilateral trade and economic relations.
Business leaders attributed the widening trade deficit to non-tariff and para tariff barriers along with Bangladesh's limited export items.
The country's trade deficit with India widened to US$7746.13 million in last fiscal year from $5458.12 million a year ago, according to an official data compiled by the Export Promotion Bureau and Bangladesh Bank.
In the fiscal year (FY) 2017-18, the two-way trade between Bangladesh and India touched $9492.67 million.
During the period, Bangladesh imported products worth $8619.40 million from India and exported goods worth $873.27 million to the Indian markets. The country's total import from India stood at S$6146.25 million while export only $672.41 million.
The data also showed that Bangladesh's trade imbalance with India stood at $5458.12 million in FY 2016-17, $4761.08 million in FY 2015-16, $5300.39 million in FY 2014-15, $ 5300.39 and $ 5578.85 million in 2013-14. 
"Although both the countries are maintaining an excellent bilateral relations, widening trade gap is standing in the way of greater economic cooperation between the two countries," Abdus Salam Murshedy, President of the Exporters' Association of Bangladesh, told The New Nation yesterday.
He said Bangladesh is enjoying duty-free market access to India for almost all products, except 25 tariff lines, under SAFTA deal. But in practice, India continues to impose various trade barriers, including anti-dumping measures, on the way of accessing Bangladesh's products to their markets, which are actually hurting Bangladesh's exports to India.
"Bangladesh's export to the neighbouring country continue to rise, but it is too low to the imports and it is consequently aiding the trade deficit to incremental increase every year," said Murshedy.
He also said that Bangladesh's export to India is not growing rapidly as few products dominate exports to India. We must diversify our export basket so that shipments to India can increase rapidly.
"Non-tariff and para tariff barriers are some of the major obstacles to export growth from Bangladesh to India. Removing of the trade barriers is the key to reducing the trade gap between the two neighbouring countries," M Siddiqur Rahman, President of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), told The New Nation.
He also identified Indian bureaucracy as a big problem for increasing Bangladeshi exports to India.
Officials said the issue of trade deficit would be discussed along with other bilateral economic cooperation at the Commerce Ministry level meeting between the two countries to be held on September 26 in Dhaka.

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