February 9, 2012
Bangladesh and India may sign a new trade agreement to implement a wide-scale transit facility. Government officials yesterday discussed the issue at a meeting at the commerce ministry. Commerce Secretary Ghulam Hussain chaired the meeting. The current three-year trade agreement between the two countries will come to an end in April. The deal was renewed at a gap of three years after it was signed in 1980.
The present trade agreement will not cover many issues if the proposed transit facility is introduced for trade facilitation between the two countries, a senior official of the commerce ministry said.
The present trade deal may be renewed for a further six months as it will take time to sign the new one, said the official requesting anonymity.
The ministry will take a final decision in this regard after discussions with government high-ups and Indian authorities, the official added.
India also proposed Bangladesh for automatic renewal or introduction of the agreement for an indefinite period. But government officials did not agree to the Indian proposal at yesterday’s meeting.
A waterway transit is allowed to the Indian side on a limited scale under the current trade agreement. Bangladesh receives a small amount of annual fees from India for allowing such transit under the agreement.
Bangladesh agreed in principle to allow wide-scale transit to India through waterways and road, by using its two important seaports — Chittagong and Mongla.
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