Tag Archives: india

Eight more border haats in the offing

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Eight more border haats in the offing

Mukul Sangma, chief minister of Meghalaya, speaks at a seminar, Northeast India-Bangladesh Business Conclave, at Sonargaon Hotel in Dhaka yesterday. Seated extreme left, Dipu Moni, foreign minister, is also seen. Photo: STAR

Star Business Report

Riding on initial success, at least eight more border haats will open soon to foster trade between India and Bangladesh, officials said yesterday.

“The success of the border haats will be expanded. Efforts to set up four border haats with Mizoram are underway. We will also look into the possibility of opening border haats with Assam,” said Foreign Minister Dipu Moni.

She spoke at a seminar, Northeast India-Bangladesh Business Conclave, at Sonargaon Hotel in Dhaka.

India Chamber of Commerce (ICC) organised the event in association with India-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IBCCI).

Forty-eight delegates from Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Assam, Tripura and ICC took part in the seminar organised on the sidelines of the third Indo-Bangladesh Trade Fair.

The comments from the Bangladeshi foreign minister came after Sanjay Bhattacharya, deputy high commissioner of India to Bangladesh, said they have made a small but significant beginning with the operationlisation of two border haats in Meghalaya.

“Four more will follow in Tripura and another four in Mizoram,” he said.

The diplomat said they are enthused by the positive reaction of the community to opening of trade through the border haats. “Both sides have prospered and there is no evidence that opening trade with northeast India has in any way affected either community negatively.”

“We need to cast aside fears and take the opportunity forward. Land border should be an interface for exchange of culture and commerce,” he said.

Last year, a first-ever ‘border haat’ was formally opened at the no-man’s land of Kalaichar in Kurigram for trading in commodities of Bangladesh and India with the expectation of strengthening bonds of people of the two countries.

Mukul Sangma, chief minister of Meghalaya, said the steps taken so far must be translated into action to improve relations between the two countries.

He said there have been a lot of improvements in cooperation between Bangladesh and India, particularly with its northeast states.

“Still, there are many things we need to work on. It is high time for us to identify areas for investment opportunities,” he said.

He said there is a need to strengthen social bonds among people of Bangladesh and northeast states, apart from working on boosting economic ties. “We have to work to strengthen contacts among people, which existed in the past, to dispel mistrust among them.”

Sangma said the two countries can work on tourism, which has an enormous potential to grow. “If we do it jointly we will be able to make our products attractive.”

MK Saharia, chairman of the northeast chapter of ICC, said the growth prospect of India, particularly in its northeastern region is directly linked with the growth and prosperity of Bangladesh.

He said the two-way annual trade between India and Bangladesh tops $5 billion, where Bangladesh’s exports account for only $500 million.

“This is the scenario although India has removed all duties on Bangladeshi products. Here Bangladesh must understand that it produces products that Indian manufacturers also do. As a result, the Bangladeshi producers face competition.”

“Bangladesh should diversify its export basket,” he said. “The two countries should also initiate joint ventures aiming not only their respective domestic markets, but also for a third country.”

India offers a market of 1.2 billion people to Bangladesh, said Saharia.

The deputy high commissioner said, given the geographical proximity, Bangladesh would never lose its competitive advantage for export of its goods to the northeast as compared to goods from Indian mainland via Chittagong to northeast India.

“The only goods in which there will be a cost advantage are those not produced or manufactured or not in surplus in Bangladesh. Therefore, the opinion of some naysayers of loss of advantage is not based on facts,” he said.

The diplomat said the Indian High Commission in Dhaka has started issuing one-year multiple entry visas liberally to all genuine business applicants and at least a six-month multiple entry visa for those having proper support documentation and letter of introduction from chambers.

“We feel that unless there is an easy access for the business community, we are not really encouraging business,” he said.

Jitendra Chaudhury, industries minister of Tripura, said if common people could travel each other frequently and easily, all barriers would go, let alone any non-tariff barriers.

Tapang Taloh, industries minister of Arunachal Pradesh, Gautam Roy, public health minister of Assam, Mamun Rashid, director of BRAC School of Business, Abdul Matlub Ahmad, president of IBCCI, and Rejeev Singh, director general of ICC, also spoke.

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Indo-Bangla trade fair begins

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Indo-Bangla trade fair begins

Finance Minister AMA Muhith opens the third Indo-Bangla Trade Fair 2012 at Sonargaon Hotel in the capital yesterday. Industries Minister Dilip Barua was also present. Photo: IBTF

Finance Minister AMA Muhith opens the third Indo-Bangla Trade Fair 2012 at Sonargaon Hotel in the capital yesterday. Industries Minister Dilip Barua was also present. Photo: IBTF

Star Business Desk

The third Indo-Bangla Trade Fair 2012 began at Sonargaon Hotel in the capital yesterday.

India-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IBCCI) organised the event that is supported by the Indian high commission in Bangladesh and sponsored by the State Bank of India to strengthen the business relations between the two countries.

AMA Muhith, finance minister, inaugurated the fair as the chief guest where Dilip Barua, industries minister; Pankaj Saran, Indian high commissioner, and Nabam Tuki, chief minister of Arunachal pradesh, were also present.

A Bangladesh-North East India Business Conclave, organised by the Indian Chamber of Commerce in association with the IBCCI, was also held on the sidelines of the showcase.

Dipu Moni, foreign minister; Nabam Tuki, chief minister of Arunachal Pradesh; Mukul Sangma, chief minister of Meghalaya; Gautam Roy, minister for public health engineering of Assam; Jitendra Chaudhury, industries minister of Tripura and Tapang Taloh, industries minister of Arunachal, spoke on the occasion.

A business delegation from India and a delegation of the government officials from North East Indian states are already in the city for interactions with their Bangladesh counterparts.

More than 30 Bangladeshi and Indian companies in six pavilions and 33 stalls are taking part at the showcase.

One-on-one meetings to boost networking among the business persons of both the countries have also been arranged.

The Confederation of Indian Industry and Federation of Indian Export Organisation are the fair partners in India. GLOBATT from Rahimafrooz sponsored the inaugural ceremony. Triune Exhibition and Event Management Services is the event coordinator.