Anand Sharma Inaugurates Border Haat at Kalaichar
India Bangladesh Trade Increases by 45 Per Cent in 2010-11
The Union Minister of Commerce, Industry and Textiles, Shri Anand Sharma jointly inaugurated Border Haat at Kalaichar, West Garo Hill District in Meghalaya with his Bangladesh counterpart Mr. Muhammad Faruk Khan today. Speaking on the occasion Shri Sharma said “The Haats would focus on importance of restoration of economic and commercial ties between the people living on either side of our Borders.” He also announced that the second Border Haat proposed at Balat on Indian side and Lauwaghar on Bangladesh side will also be inaugurated shortly. “I am confident that the opening of Border Haats will make the border villages on both sides more prosperous through improved market accessibility for their locally produced goods. It is estimated that bilateral trade worth 20 million US $ will take place annually from the Border Haats” he added. It made for an emotional moment when India & Bangladesh traders met after 40 years at Kalaichar in Meghalaya.
The commodities sold in the designated Border Haats are exempted from the payment of customs duties. Commodities are allowed to be exchanged in the designated Border Haats in local currency and/or barter basis. Estimated value of such purchases shall not be more than respective local currency equivalent of US $ 50 for any particular day. Residents of the area within five km radius from the location of Border Haat will be allowed to sell and buy products in the Border Haats. Vendors and vendees in the Border Haats will carry photo identity cards.
The bilateral trade between the two countries has increased from US $ 2.7 billion in 2009-10 to US $ 3.9 billion in 2010-11 showing an increase of around 45%. The growth of exports from Bangladesh to India has also shown an increase from US $ 0.25 billion in 2009-10 to US$ 0.39 billion in 2010-11.
Shri Sharma recalled that during the recent visit of the External Affairs Minister of India to Bangladesh, instruments of ratification in respect of the Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPPA) were exchanged which will greatly facilitate two-way investments. The agreement aims at creating favourable conditions for fostering and encouraging investments between the two countries.
Both the countries have made significant forward movement in their cooperation in the power sector, including establishment of grid connectivity upto 500 MW of power from India of which 250 MW will be at a preferential rate. India responded positively to Bangladesh's request for setting up of a high technology joint venture thermal power plant of 1320 MW capacity at Khulna and has completed the feasibility report.
In addition to the Border Haats, both sides are working on several projects to improve trade infrastructure and connectivity. Border Management Department of Ministry of Home Affairs in India is developing 7 Integrated Check Posts (ICPs) on India – Bangladesh Border viz; Petrapole, Agartala, Dawki, Hili, Chandrabangha, Sutarkhandi and Kawarpuchiah. Further, India is also developing infrastructure at 8 Land Custom Stations along the Indo – Bangladesh border at a cost of Rs.108.19 crores. The Land Custom Stations are Borosora, Dalu, Ghasupara, Mahadipur, Hilli, Phullbari, Srimantpur and Gojadanga. The total projected cost of all the ICPs and LCSs being developed is 125 US $ million.
India has welcomed the offer of the Bangladesh Government to the use of Chittagong and Mongla Ports. This will, no doubt provide tremendous benefit for trade and development of Bangladesh as well as the North-East of India. India has already finalised and shared the draft modalities with the Bangladeshi side.
India is now able to provide Buyers Credit to Bangladesh Government agencies for large project exports, especially in the infrastructure sector such as roads, bridges, railways, power lines, sewerage plants, water treatment plants and housing. The credit spanning over a period of 5-8 years will be provided under National Export Insurance Account (NEIA) through Exim Bank.
The Minister conveyed that a number of the proposals received for utilisation of the 1 billion US Dollars Line of Credit from India which was agreed during the visit of Prime Minister of Bangladesh in January, 2010, are under implementation.