B’desh urged to open up market

Kathmandu, December 9:

Nepali entrepreneurs asked the Bangladesh government to open up its markets for Nepali exports on reciprocal basis.

Speaking at an interaction organised by the Confederation of Nepalese Industries (CNI) in the valley today, they also urged Nepal government to provide hassle-free access for the Bangladeshi products in the Nepali market.

The traders from both the South Asian nations urged their respective governments to look into matters that are impeding growth of bilateral trade. They pointed out the need of ensuring smooth transportation and easy transit facilities, particularly on the corridor of the Indian side.

They also voiced concern for easing up provisions related to movement of people in order to increase bilateral trade, investment and tourism. “Both the governments should take transit and transportation issues bilaterally as well as trilaterally-with India-to ensure smooth flow of goods,” they said, adding that besides transit and transport issues, Bangladesh needs to liberalise its high tax regimes.

“Some of the Nepali exports should be given duty free access in the Bangladeshi markets, as it has provided for Bhutan,” said Binod Kumar Chaudhary, president of CNI. He underscored the need of Nepal and Bangladesh to enter into a selective free trade area pact. “It is high time for us to focus beyond trade. We must now start taking about two-way investments supporting growth and economic activities,” he said.

“Besides addressing the tariff and non-tariff barriers, we need to retrospect ourselves and then commit for the business,” said Chiranjilal Agrawal, vice-president of CNI.

Similarly, Hari Bhakta Sharma, a member of CNI, urged Bang-ladesh government for a reciprocal treatment of Nepali exports, including pharmaceuticals.

The Bangladeshi entrepreneurs, who are in the capital participating at the Bangladesh Single Country Trade Fair, also voiced similar concerns.

Mustafa Mohiuddin, joint secretary at the Ministry of Commerce, Bangladesh, also agreed that transport and transit at the corridor are the major factors impeding bilateral trade. “Bangladesh has given a due priority to increase trade volume with Nepal,” he said, adding that Bangladesh is open for bilateral negotiation on reducing tariff for Nepali exports. “We are looking for a joint initiative on tourism promotion and package development,” he said, “It also expect treatment on reciprocal basis.”

Bangladesh has opened five transit points including two seaports for Nepal for its bilateral as well as third country trade and has agreed to open up a new railway corridor through Rohanpur, said Imtiaz Ahmed, Bangladeshi envoy to Nepal.

Summing up, Purushottam Ojha, secretary at the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies, assured that Nepal would take transit facilitation, transport and infrastructure improvement issues seriously. “We are looking at developing bilateral arrangements for creating a win-win situation in trade,” he said.