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Border haats, full time ICP operation at Benapole-Petrapole soon: officials

5 March 2022, 4:37:38

Bangladesh and India have agreed to open border haats and ensure 24 hours operation of Integrated Check Post (ICP) at
Benapole-Petrapole soon to facilitate trade between the two neighbouring countries, Indian Commerce Ministry sources said.

The border haats were closed for long and full time operation in Benapole- Petrapole ICP was hampered due to Covid-19 restrictions.

The decision for opening the border haats and implementation of 24×7 operation of Benapole-Petrapole ICP was taken at the annual Bangladesh-India commerce secretary level meeting concluded here yesterday.

Bangladesh Commerce Secretary Tapan Kanti Ghosh and his Indian counterpart B.V.R Subrahmanyam led their respective sides at the meeting. Representatives of relevant departments from both the countries joined the meeting.

In a statement issued by Indian commerce ministry here today said that both sides held extensive discussion on a variety of issues of mutual interest when significant progress was made on multimodal connectivity between Bangladesh and India.

It said that discussion was also held on development of railway infrastructure, port infrastructure, Joint Study on Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), Regional connectivity through Multi-Modal Transportation, Harmonization of Standards and Mutual Recognition Agreement.

The meeting also approved a Detailed Project Proposal (DPP) for developing container handling facility at Sirajganj Bazar to facilitate bilateral trade and agreed to strengthen regional connectivity through multi-model transport, the statement said.

The meeting was preceded by the 14th meeting of the Joint Working Group (JWG) on Trade, at the level of joint and additional secretaries of the ministry of commerce of both the countries. The next meetings of the JWG and Commerce Secretaries will be held in Bangladesh, at mutually convenient dates, the statement said.

However, a source from Bangladesh side told BSS last evening that Bangladesh has raised some issues, which included lifting of anti-dumping duty on Bangladesh’s jute products and removal of trade barriers, at the meeting.

He said Bangladesh is long been demanding lifting of anti-dumping duty imposed by India on its jute products from 2017 for five years. Although the matter was prominently discussed in the last commerce secretary level meeting held in Dhaka on March last year, but no significant headway was made yet to this end, he added.

According to official sources, Bangladesh’s export to India has shown a remarkable increase during the past several years. Data shows that total trade volume between India and Bangladesh in 2020-2021 financial year was about 9.9 billion US Dollars. Of the total, Bangladesh’s export to India was 1.3 billion US Dollars during the period, the highest in the history.

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