India has offered to export to Bangladesh a large variety of raw material from the northeastern states that could be processed in Bangladesh and sold back to the region to help Dhaka bridge its bilateral trade gap.
The offer was made by Commerce Ministry joint secretary VPC Shastri at a two-day meeting of the Indo-Bangla joint working group at Agartala, Tripura. His counterpart Elias Ahmed led the Bangladesh side.
"The northeastern states of India have huge resources and raw materials and these can be exported to Bangladesh.
"After due processing, the finished products can be made available to the people of the region at much cheaper rates," Shastri was quoted as saying in The Daily Star newspaper.
Elias Ahmed stressed that India's northeastern states and Bangladesh have common culture and lifestyle and that these similarities could easily help enhance bilateral trade.
The poor infrastructure on both sides was discussed and it was decided to step up efforts at modernising and upgrading existing facilities, including roads, to boost bilateral trade.
"We have decided to modernise and upgrade our existing infrastructure, including road connectivity, to further boost trade between the two countries, especially between Bangladesh and the northeastern states of India," Shastri said after the meeting.
Terming the meeting "very successful", he said, "It is our constant endeavour to reduce the huge bilateral trade gap existing between the two nations."
The meeting also discussed issues relating to tariff and non-tariff barriers.
Customs officials of both the countries will meet soon and review the performance of land customs stations.
The meeting also discussed the recommendations of the task force constituted by the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).