Bhutan to sign deal to access Bangladesh’s Mongla port

January 7th, 2011 - 1:42 pm ICT by IANS  

Dhaka, Jan 7 (IANS) Bangladesh and Bhutan will sign a fresh agreement that allows South Asia’s Himalayan landlocked neighbour to use this country’s Mongla port.A commerce ministry official said the deal may be inked during the visit of Bhutanese Prime Minister Lyonchen Jigmi Yoser Thinley next Monday, or anytime this year.

Bangladesh is now finalising the guidelines for signing the agreement, he said.

Thinley is scheduled to arrive in Dhaka Monday on a four-day visit. “The guidelines for the agreement are at the final stage,” the unnamed official was quoted as saying by the Daily Star Friday.

Bangladesh and Bhutan earlier signed a transit agreement in 1980, but it did not come into effect, as Bangladesh and India failed to reach an agreement on giving Bhutan a corridor, and to alow it use a strip of the Indian territory.

India has now agreed to provide rail and road access to goods from Nepal and Bhutan through its territory to Bangladeshi ports.

Bhutan has long been asking for access to Chittagong port, but Bangladesh prefers offering Mongla port to boost its use, the official said.

“We are still busy finalising the guidelines of the transit agreement,” said chairman of Bangladesh Tariff Commission Mojibur Rahman, without elaborating.

Earlier, the commerce ministry asked the Bangladesh Tariff Commission to prepare the guidelines.

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