Kathmandu, December 5:

‘Bangladesh Single Country Fair 2007’ is being planned at Birendra International Convention Centre (BICC) in Kathmandu on December 7-10. in a bid to explore and boost Nepal-Bangladesh trade and economic ties.

Organised by the embassy of Bangladesh in association with Export Promotion Bureau of Bangladesh, the fifth edition of the event is bringing together 37 different Bangladeshi firms to display and sale their products and services.

The fair will provide a common platform for private sectors from both the countries, which is expected to boost trade and open up new avenues for more interactions between the business communities, said Imtiaz Ahmed, Bangladeshi envoy. It will feature Bangladeshi products like sarees and handloom products, jute and its products, food items, ceramic goods, handicrafts, herbal beauty products, household products and readymade garments.

Although Nepal and Bangladesh have many commonalities and opportunities, the bilateral trade relationship has not been able to exploit the potentials, the envoy said, add-ing that trade volume is almost negligible as the annual volume stands merely below $20 million. “It is expected to cross $30 million this year.”

Although trade surplus is in favour of Nepal, Nepali businessmen complain about non-tariff barriers they face while exporting goods via India.

The bilateral trade is still being guided by a Bilateral Trade Payment Agreeme-nt-1976 and a protocol to Transit Agreement. The pact is automatically renewed every three year.

“The transit facilitation and smooth transport operation are key issues that need to be dealt precisely to boost bilateral trade between the two countries,” Ahmed said. “Bangladesh has already opened five transit points including two seaports for Nepal for its bilateral as well as third country trade and has agreed to open a new railway route — Birgunj-Katariya-Rohanpur-Singhbad-Dhaka,” he added.

He pointed out the need of putting forth the issues of transit and transportation with India to reap benefits of existing bilateral trade potentials. “Bangl-adesh has already discussed the issues with India and we expect that Nepal also approach from its side,” he said.

Nepal exports agro produces like yellow lentils, tea, green vegetable and live animals and imports pharmaceuticals, jute, garment and spices.