Kolkata, Sep 14 (IANS) Bangladesh Saturday pressed India for the dissolution of para-tariff and non-tariff barriers to facilitate increase of its exports.
A top Bangladesh commerce ministry official also called for individual investments in pharmaceuticals, tourism, manufacturing, information and communication technology (ICT), ceramics and renewable energy projects.
"Though under South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA), India has granted Bangladesh duty-free access to all items, except tobacco and liquor, which should have opened up more markets. However, the situation is not so...exports from Bangladesh should be more," said Commerce Secretary Mahbub Ahmed during an interactive session here.
Citing figures, he said though there has been a 12 percent increase in exports from the last fiscal year, exports needed to go up nine times to bridge the gap.
"During the last fiscal, our export to India was $563 million but India exported only $4.8 billion...there is a gap..of almost nine fold," said Ahmed.
Abida Islam, deputy high commissioner of Bangladesh in Kolkata, pointed out that due to the barriers, Bangladesh's export of readymade garments (RMG) is being "obstructed".
"RMG is our number one export item and it could be exported here at a competitive price. However we are able to export only 10 percent of India's yearly demand," said Islam adding the country has experienced a surge in exports of RMG to north America and the European Union.
Stress was also given to improve infrastructure facilities of the land customs stations, land ports and construction of integrated check post for facilitating trade through the letters of credit (LCSs) on the Indian side of the border.