Bangladesh will increase trade, business with northeast India

January 28th, 2009 - 1:59 pm ICT by IANS  

Agartala, Jan 28 (IANS) Bangladesh is keen to boost trade and commerce with northeastern India to narrow down its trade deficit with the country, an official said here Wednesday.”Traders, industrialists and investors are really keen to boost trade and business activities with the northeast,” said Abdul Matlub Ahmad, president of the India-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IBCCI).

A 21-member Bangladeshi delegation headed by Ahmad is currently on a three-day visit to Tripura to finalise the setting up of joint venture projects and import coal and other minerals to Bangladesh.

“The IBCCI delegation during its three-day visit would also discuss with Indian officials and industrialists investment in the form of a joint venture in paper and pulp industry in Sylhet district of Bangladesh,” Ahmad told journalists.

The IBCCI signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) Tuesday night with the Tripura Chamber of Commerce and Industry to enhance trade and business and economic relations with the northeastern region of India.

“The northeast has enormous untapped resources and huge scope to augment business between the two countries,” said Obaidur Rahman, director of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI).

He said: “As the newly assumed Awami League government in Bangladesh is very much business friendly we would impress upon Dhaka to develop the border infrastructure for smooth export-import business between the two neighbours.”

According to the IBCCI and FBCCI officials, total bilateral trade between India and Bangladesh grew from $2.56 billion in 2006-07 to $3.616 billion in 2007-08.

Tripura industry and commerce minister Jitendra Chowdhury said: “The changed political situation in Bangladesh should be utilised properly for the economic benefit of both India and Bangladesh.”

“The India-Bangladesh annual trade through Tripura is little over Rs.300 million, although informal trade was estimated by Indian Institute Foreign Trade (IIFT) study in 1997 at about Rs.1 billion,” an official document said.

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