Bangladesh seeks to increase trade with northeast India

April 20th, 2009 - 2:42 pm ICT by IANS  

Agartala, April 20 (IANS) Bangladeshi trade and industry groups have said they would increase trade and economic activities with India’s northeast region and urged Dhaka to provide transit facilities to India.
“We have decided to start business and education tourism with the northeastern region,” said Abdul Matlub Ahmad, president of the India-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

A 10-member Bangladeshi delegation headed by Ahmad and comprising members of various Bangladesh trade bodies held a series of meetings here over the past few days with Indian businessmen and government officials to chalk out strategies for setting up of joint venture projects and intensifying trade and business between the two countries.

“A multipurpose complex comprising budget hotels and convention hall would be set up in Agartala to conduct business of both northeast India and Bangladeshi products,” Ahmad told reporters Sunday.

Bangladeshi trade bodies have also urged Indian authorities to open a special counter in the Indian High Commission in Dhaka so that northeast-bound Bangladeshi businessmen, students and tourists can get visas more easily.

India has been pressing for transit facilities through Bangladesh for better connectivity between the land-locked northeastern region and the rest of the country.

“If the Bangladesh government provides transit facilities via Chittagong, Sherpur and Ashuganj and other ports, it would benefit in terms of revenue,” he said, adding that the matter was under consideration.

The Tripura government had earlier set up a seven-member task force comprising officials and trade bodies of the two countries to suggest measures to enhance economic activities between northeast India and Bangladesh.

“During these meetings, it was decided to increase the export-import business between the northeast region and Bangladesh by three times by 2010,” said Ahmad.

An Indian trade delegation will visit Bangladesh next month, while another from that country will visit the northeast shortly.

The Bangladesh government has expressed an interest to buy at nominal cost any surplus power generated from the proposed 740 MW Palatana thermal power project in south Tripura, Ahmad said.

Tripura is surrounded by Bangladesh in almost all four sides and shares an 856-km border with that country.

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