Saturday, October 23, 2010

India to export 5 lakh tonnes of foodgrain to Bangladesh

NEW DELHI: India has said that it will export three lakh tonne of rice and two lakh tonne of wheat to Bangladesh soon. Orders have been issued to the directorate general of foreign trade to expedite the process, commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma has said.

Bangladesh, in turn, has said that it will allow India to use its Chittagong and south-western Mongla seaports once it creates the required infrastructure — a move which is expected to make it easier and cheaper to export and import from India's land-locked North-eastern states.

The promises were made at a bilateral meeting between Bangladeshi commerce minister Faruk Khan and Anand Sharma in New Delhi on Saturday, where the two signed agreements to strengthen economic ties and border infrastructure.

Two way trade currently stands at $ 3 billion annually and has the potential to touch $ 5 billion in two years time, Mr Sharma said.

India will export three lakh tonne of par-boiled rice and two lakh tonne of wheat to Bangladesh Rs Rs soon'' and the DGFT has been asked to monitor the process. "State trading firms have been directed to do so expeditiously," Mr Sharma told reporters

There is presently a ban on export of both wheat and non-Basmati rice from India, but exports are allowed on diplomatic ground to countries in need from time to time.

Bangladeshi minister Faruk Khan told the media that his country will allow India to use its seaports in Chittagong and Mongla once these are upgraded to take the extra load. This is an important development as exporters and importers in the North-Eastern states, who have to go all the way to the Kolkata port to ship goods, can save both time and money by accessing the Bangladeshi ports which are geographically much closer.

Mr Sharma said India would be importing 1.7 million apparel pieces from Bangladesh without any duty during the October-December quarter. Under a trade facilitation initiative, India has allowed duty-free apparel import quota of 80 lakh pieces in a calendar year from the country.

Seven integrated check-posts on India-Bangladesh border and eight land customs stations are being upgraded and will be operationalised soon, the ministers said.
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