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India may lower negative list for Bangladesh

India is ready to look at lowering further the number of items in the negative list for trade with least developed countries such as Bangladesh, a senior commerce ministry official said in New Delhi on Friday.

business Updated: Jan 30, 2009 15:16 IST

India is ready to look at lowering further the number of items in the negative list for trade with least developed countries (LDCs) such as Bangladesh, a senior commerce ministry official said in New Delhi on Friday.

"We have already reduced the negative list from 765 to 480 items. We are ready to review this and bring it down further," Rajiv Kher, joint secretary in the commerce ministry, said at a roundtable on India-Bangladesh trade and economic cooperation organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

Indicating that Bangladesh will have to improve its quality-testing infrastructure and physical connectivity, he said India was ready to reduce the negative list if it receives 'positive response' from its neighbour.

Kher said India had agreed to import eight million garment articles, duty-free, from Bangladesh but has so far received only 3.7 million pieces.

"We expect that with a slowdown in the US and European economies, this quota will be fully utilised and we may think about enlarging it further," Kher said.

Bilateral trade between India and Bangladesh stood at $3.6 billion in 2007-08, with India being the largest trade partner of Bangladesh.