Update March 13, 2016

Dhaka 9-48 am, 25-January, 2021

Tofail urges Delhi to lift countervailing duty

Sumel Sarker

Tofail ahmed

Indo-Bangla cotton festival ends

13 March 2016, Nirapad News: Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed Saturday requested India to remove the countervailing duties on locally-made products, saying the country’s exports to India are facing difficulties due to such tariff and non-tariff barriers. “Since 2011, India has been offering duty-free facility for all Bangladeshi-made products, except tobacco and alcohol. But Bangladesh has been facing difficulties in taking the advantage of the zero-tariff facilities to India because of that 12 per cent countervailing duties,” the minister said. He was speaking at the inaugural session of ‘Bangladesh India Cotton Fest-2016’ jointly organised by Bangladesh Cotton Association (BCA), Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA) and Indian Cotton Association Ltd (ICAL) at a city hotel.

The bilateral trade between the two countries is mostly in favour of India as Bangladesh imports higher volume of goods compared to its small quantity of exports, he said, requesting the Indian authority to withdraw the non-tariff barriers from locally-made products. Indian high commissioner Harsh Vardhan Shringla said India was the largest supplier of cotton and cotton yarn to Bangladesh and cotton and cotton yarn/thread and cotton fabric was the single largest commodity export from India, accounting for about 22.5 per cent of India’s total exports to Bangladesh. Cotton security issue is “very pertinent” and significant for Bangladesh as it is solely dependent on imported cotton for its vast spinning sub-sector, BTMA president Tapan Chowdhury said, adding that any breach or lapse in cotton imports causes undue harm and losses for local spinners. “Sometimes, foreign suppliers put the importers in an adverse situation by withholding their supplies on different pleas and by supplying cotton in short quantities and with variation in quality. Sometimes, restriction and prohibition or other conditions are imposed on cotton export to our country,” he noted.

“I strongly feel that such kind of impediments should be avoided at any cost to build a strong, firm and long-lasting trading relationship between the cotton traders of our two countries,” he added. In 2015, Bangladesh imported 6.1 million bales of raw cotton worth US$2.2 billion for its more than 400 spinning mills, while 2.99 million bales were imported from India. With the $50 billion garment export target by 2021, investment in primary textile sector and dependency on imported cotton will also be increased, the BTMA president said.

“India being the biggest grower of cotton and having the natural advantages of its geographical location as the closer neighbour and having very friendly relationship has the potential to maintain its strong position as the biggest cotton supplier of Bangladesh,” he noted. ICAL president Mahesh Sharda expressed his hope that the fest would help cotton traders of both countries to get mutual benefit. BCA president Badsha Mia said “Like all other trade, we have also disputes and we hope this event will pave the way in solving the business disputes amicably.” The festival included useful sessions on cotton production and challenges, port facilities: sea ports and land ports Infrastructure in Bangladesh. munni_fe@yahoo.com

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