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India, Bangladesh extend protocol to liberalise trade

New Delhi, Fri, 30 Mar 2012 ANI

New Delhi, Mar 30 (ANI): Commerce Secretaries of India and Bangladesh - Rahul Khullar and Mohammad Ghulam Hussain respectively extend the countries' bilateral trade treaty by three years.

They made the announcement here on the conclusion of the two-day long talks, which were the first bilateral secretary-level talks between India in eight years.

"There is an overarching framework agreement which guides how the relationship is to be managed. Within that context, I am pleased to announce that we have come to an agreement, that the trade treaty, which was due to expire on the 31st of March, will be renewed for a period of three years," Khullar said.

Speaking in favour of a freer flow of goods between the two countries, Khullar stressed on the importance of trade ties between the sub-continental neighbours.

"It's a very vital strategic partnership. I particularly welcome the point that Mr. Hussain, the commerce secretary made repeatedly, which is that our relationship at the broadest, highest levels is at one of its peaks, and we must continue to nurture that relationship carefully, judiciously, so that it flourishes," he said.

Hussain said that the benefits of improving trade relations between the two countries would become more visible with time.

"Everything is now duty-free to India, except 525 items of tobacco and liquor. So, Bangladesh has just given these benefits a few months back. It will take some time, and already there are some positive signs of improving relations. In terms of preferential market access, the opportunity is being used by the exporters of Bangladesh," he added.

Speaking on the fact that India's exports to Bangladesh far exceeded imports, Hussain said that the matter must be placed in context. Most of Bangladesh's imports comprising machinery and raw material for manufacturing goods, he said that these imports helped the overall export rate of Bangladesh.

"Many people have talked about this trade gap. Personally, as Commerce Secretary, I am not very worried about that, because I would like to see, what are the products we are importing and what is the use of those products? That helps us to get more exports. That is also true. But in any case, Bangladesh's exports to India are also growing at a very fast rate," he added.

The Bilateral Trade Agreement between India and Bangladesh was originally signed in 1980.The Agreement provides for expansion of trade and economic cooperation, making mutually beneficial arrangements for the use of waterways, railways and roadways, passage of goods between two places in one country through the territory of the other. (ANI)

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