Bangladesh Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed said that the country has expressed to get its share in the Indian market during the inauguration of the first border haat (market) in the Tripura-Bangladesh border here.

Bangladesh Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed

Bangladesh Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed said that the country has expressed to get its share in the Indian market during the inauguration of the first border haat (market) in the Tripura-Bangladesh border here. “We shall have to come to such a position where we can also take the share of the market of India. We are grateful to the Government of India that they have awarded us duty free, quota free market access in almost all the items except in two items – alcohol and tobacco,” Ahmed said. “All the other items we can export to India without duty but in spite of that there is some trade barriers which are known as tariff and non-tariff barriers. I hope that with proper discussion of both the countries we will be able to remove this,” he added. According to Ahmed, after getting liberation from Pakistan, Bangladesh has grown faster and the economy of the nation has moved far ahead. “Economically we are going ahead, even in the social sectors which have been reported by news papers and researchers that we are far-far ahead of Pakistan. Once upon a time, Bangladesh was deprived to get its due share from Pakistan and that was one of the reason for our liberation to start. But today in various sectors especially social sector we are ahead of Pakistan,” said the Bangladeshi minister thanking India and its people for helping during its freedom struggle by proving place to live and as well as arms and force. “We are always thankful to the government and people of India because during our liberation war we got all types of support. We got place to take refuge, arms to fight and all help required. That is why our national leader Bangabandhu as sign of gratitude after coming out of Pakistan jail he via London went to Delhi before coming to his mother land on 10th January 1972,” said the minister. “The Bangladesh parliament has already ratified the India-Bangladesh Land Boundary Agreement but the Indian parliament is yet to endorse the deal,” he added. He was addressing after the joint inauguration of the ‘Border Haat’ along with his Indian counterpart Nirmala Sitharaman in the presence of thousands of people of both the neighbouring nations. The Bangladesh minister assured that his country is considering for allowing India to use the Chittagong port for either transit or transshipment. Meanwhile, Union Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that India is keen to further strengthen economic relations with Bangladesh. “Prime Minister Narendra Modi has already announced to convert the ‘Look East Policy’ to ‘Act East Policy’ for better relations and further all round development of the northeastern region after closely connecting the region with the Southeast Asian countries including Bangladesh and seriously wants to further reinforce the trade, economy and people to people relations and all other mutual issues,” said Sitharaman. “Tripura is located at the threshold and in an advantageous position in respect of strategic, diplomatic and economic relations with Bangladesh, is likely to become the gateway in tandem with implementation of the ‘Act East’ policy adopted by the government of India,” she added. She suggested that in the border haats not only perishable items like vegetable, fruits and locally produced items thing should be there in the items bust also those items which are produce in small industries on both sides as it will not only help in earning revenue but also solve unemployment problems. “The commerce between the two nations will only encourage and build better relations and these are common citizens between Bangladesh and India who will do trade. Small traders and purchasers are going to come here to purchase and sell goods which are going to revive the local economy,” said Sitharaman. “I just suggested that not just primary perishable goods like vegetables and fruits but there should also be value added goods which should be traded here because if have local manufacturing through which some income to the state government will come. Although if you buy and sell here there cannot be any duty but by producing small and medium enterprise which can prevail here and I presume in Bangladesh the local employment potential will increase, local employment and productivity will add revenue to the state government and of course international trade will prosper,” she added. Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar, Lok Sabha Member Jitendra Chowdhury, MPs of Feni and senior Indian and Bangladeshi officials were among others present on the occasion. However, according to the border guards, the border haats would play a vital role in reducing illegal trade and smuggling and thus help in batter manning the border. Colonel Kader Ahamed, Sector Commander Comilla of Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) said, “It is the bridge between both the countries and have very good impact for the bordering people. It will reduce smuggling and help both the forces BSF and BGB to work together and increase the cooperation and friendship between the two countries.” Meanwhile, the common people on both sides welcomed the move of India and Bangladesh to setup border haats which according to them will not only revive the pre-partition trade but also improve the people-to-people relation between both the nations.

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Bangladesh Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed expresses need for market share in India