Dhaka: Bangladesh and India have
finalised a deal to set up weekly border markets along their
common frontier from next month in a bid to boost local trade
between the two nations.
"We finalised the border haats deal last week during a
meeting of joint working committee of the two nations. We hope
to sign the deal next month," a commerce ministry spokesman
Commerce ministry officials of the two countries
finalised the draft of the proposed agreement in line with a
Dhaka-New Delhi deal reached during Prime Minister Sheikh
Hasina’s India tour in January, the Financial Express
newspaper reported today.
Officials said the border haats would benefit the
population living on either side of the border. Earlier
reports, however, had said the ministry had opted for a "go
slow" approach to a New Delhi proposal to assess the
feasibility and other related matters.
They told PTI that concerned Bangladeshi and India
officials, representing the commerce and foreign ministries
and revenue boards, had already visited some of the proposed
sites in the frontier areas, particularly in northeastern
borders along India’s Meghalaya region.
The commerce ministry official confirmed the report to
impose caps on trading and making the bazaars accessible only
to residents of the frontier areas and working out ways to
keep the weekly markets smuggling-free.
He said several clauses were incorporated in the draft
agreement in an effort to keep cross-border smugglers away
from the facilities and prevent money laundering.
The Express report said two bazaars would be set up in
the first phase - one in northeastern Sunamganj and another in
northwestern Kurigram along India`s Meghalaya border.
According the draft agreement, an individual will not
be able to trade above USD 50 at the bazaar using both
Bangladeshi and Indian currencies. Farm and homemade items
produced in 10-kilometre radius of the border bazaar will be
allowed to be traded in the haats, to be set up within 75
metres of the frontier.