India has suggested that Bangladesh develop its Mangla port and link it with Haldia port in West Bengal to accelerate trade and reduce the trade gap between the two countries.
Indian High Commissioner Veena Sikri stressed the need for increased direct transport links with Bangladesh, which in turn has invited India to invest more in its fabric and yarn sector.
Speaking at the inauguration on Sunday of a three-day 'Indian Cotton Yarn & Fabric Show -2006', Sikri stressed on the need for direct rail, road and water links to increase trade and overall interaction, an issue that has been discussed from time to time but is making slow progress.
Sikri's suggestion came even as Bangladesh invited Indian investment in its fabric and yarn sectors as a way of expanding its participation in the textile sector and helping bridge the widening balance of trade gap, The Daily Star newspaper reported.
She said India was working sincerely to reduce this gap.
Opening the show here, Bangladesh Commerce Minister M. Hafiz Uddin Ahmed said that the trade gap between the countries was highly tilted in India's favour at $1.88 billion and this would increase in the current year as well.
Overall bilateral economic ties, however, depended upon diligent implementation of the SAFTA and Bimstec free trade agreements, said Ahmed at the show organised by the Cotton Textiles Export Promotion Council (TEXPROCIL) of India in association with Indian High Commission in Dhaka.
He urged that India remove the existing tariff, non-tariff and para-tariff barriers.
The bilateral trade between the countries stood at $2.2 billion during the current year. Noting that Bangladesh remained India's third largest export destination for fabric and the second largest for yarn, Sikri said that increase in trade and the bridging of the deficit would depend on how fast Bangladesh improved its infrastructure.
Ahmed highlighted the positive sides of the trade and urged that India should supply fabric and yarn to Bangladesh "as a next door neighbour," the newspaper said.
Bangladesh imports a huge volume of accessories for its export-oriented readymade garment (RMG) industries, said the minister, expressing hope that this exposition would provide country's RMG manufacturers an opportunity to compare price and quality of required items and thus help in reaching this sourcing decision.
DN Srivastava, minister (economic and commercial) of the Indian High Commission, and Siddhartha Rajagopal, executive director, TEXPROCIL, also spoke on the occasion.