Bangladesh plans a major drive to boost its exports to India four times to around $1 billion over the next three years, a business leader said on Tuesday.
Bangladesh exports to India totalled just over $250 million in the last fiscal year to the end of June 2006, about 2.4 per cent of total exports.
Bangladesh is keen to tap into India's fast-growing economy, which expanded 9.4 per cent in the year to the end of March, it fastest growth in 18 years. "Over the next three years we will launch a massive drive in Indian markets along with Export Promotion Bureau," Abdul Matlub Ahmed, president of India-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IBCCI), told Reuters in an interview.
The drive will include trade fairs in major cities, including Mumbai, Chennai, New Delhi and Kolkata.
IBCCI president was confident that if India removed its tariff and non-tariff barriers then Bangladesh could capture a huge market in India.
"Knit and woven garments, leather and leather products, pharmaceuticals, raw jute and jute products, fresh vegetables, ceramic and cosmetic products, toiletries and cement are among the Bangladeshi items which have great potentials and demand in India, particularly in the Seven Sister states," Matlub said.
About 40 million inhabitants of the Seven Sister States, a region in north-eastern India comprising Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura have tremendous appetite for Bangladeshi products, he said.
"But due to tariff and non tariff barriers Bangladesh has little scope to explore the opportunity," he said.
For example, India does not accept Bangladeshi quality certificates and requires fresh tests from India before allowing the goods into the country.
"India should also exclude Bangladeshi major export items from their sensitive list," Matlub said.
On Tuesday Bangladesh has finalised its strategy and a list of products it wants to be granted duty-free access to Indian market, in line with Delhi's recent offer to open up its market to some Bangladeshi exports.