'Allow smaller ships between Vizag, Chittagong'
Agra: India Tuesday asked Bangladesh to allow smaller ships to operate between Vizag and Chittagong for faster movement of goods and reduction in shipment costs.
The issue came up for discussion during the bilateral talks between Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma and Bangladesh's Commerce Minister, Ghulam Mohammad Quader here.
An official said Sharma requested Quader "that smaller ships be allowed to operate between Chittagong and Vizag to help faster movement of goods and also reduce the transshipment cost as most of the present trade through sea happens via Singapore inflating the transshipment cost".
The visiting minister was also informed that India is in favour of increased exports from Bangladesh to correct the trade imbalance.
"We are constantly working on not only reducing the tariff and non-tariff barriers but also on how to increase imports from Bangladesh in India," the official added.
On border trade facilitation, Sharma informed that work on upgradation of infrastructure at Petropole, Dawki and Akhaura Land Customs Stations to Integrated Checks Posts has already begun on the Indian side.
Also, in addition to the Border Haats at Baliamri- Kalaichar and Lauwaghar-Balat in Meghalaya, two new Border Haats at Srinagar and Kamla Sagar in Tripura have also been approved.
Work on upgradation of warehouses in Petrapole and Dawki, as requested by Bangladesh, will be taken up on priority basis, the official added.
Sharma also said the Department of Border Management under the Home Ministry was developing seven Integrated Check Posts (ICP) on India-Bangladesh Border -- Petrapole, Agartala, Dawki, Hili, Chandrabangha, Sutarkhandi and Kawarpuchiah.
The ICP at Agartala is likely to be completed by middle of next year and Dawki by the end of 2013 or early 2014.
Further, eight Land Custom Stations are being developed along the Indo-Bangladesh- Borosora, Dalu, Ghasupara, Mahadipur, Hilli, Phullbari, Srimantpur and Gojadanga.
Sharma also sought removal of port restrictions on items like yarn, milk powder, fish, sugar, potatoes.
Referring to the revised rules of origin by EU, Sharma said there is an opportunity for Bangaldesh to expand its product basket by notifying India as input for items, and add value for export under relevant Rules of Origin, the official said.