Kolkata, Dec 14 (IANS) With almost 50 percent of India's trade with Bangladesh going through the land route, Director General of Foreign Trade Anup K. Pujari Friday called for better land customs stations (LCS) management.
"Our mutual trade with Bangladesh has been steadily growing, but transaction costs continue to be our biggest concern. There is an urgent need for better LCS management as bulk of the trade is done through the LCSes," said Pujari.
Participating at a convention on Indo-Bangladesh trade organised by the Calcutta Chamber of Commerce here, Pujari said customs procedures and documentation, and difference in weighment among others, lead to increase in transaction costs.
"There should be a unified weighment system with a single entity being entrusted to carry out the weighing process, which will not only eliminate the difference in weights but will also result in cutting down transportation time," Pujari said.
"Moreover, trucks from India should be allowed to enter Bangladesh to load and unload and vice versa, which will help reduce transportation time as well as costs," he added.
Pujari said that almost 50 percent of the trade with Bangladesh was carried through LCSs. Over 81 percent of imports from Bangladesh and 43 percent of India's export to the country were transacted through land in the last nine months of the current year.
"There is a huge scope for mutual trade to grow and the need of the hour is to simplify and harmonise customs procedures and documentation, develop infrastructure and introduce unified weighing system," said Pujari.
Bangladesh Commerce Minister G.M. Quader, present on the occasion, said his country too was working closely with India in easing non-trade barriers (NTB), which are an issue in mutual trade.
"Ports in both the countries lack adequate infrastructure. We will be visiting New Delhi soon to meet officials and talk about the various NTBs, especially weighing procedures and road and port infrastructure," said Quader.