India is now the top export destination for Bangladesh, says Vikram K Doraiswami
Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Vikram K Doraiswami on Sunday said Bangladesh is a good country for investments and that is why the Indian companies that have already invested are reinvesting in the country.
"The foreign direct investments (FDI) of Indian companies in Bangladesh is over $3 billion. The investment of Indian companies in Bangladesh is increasing. If you observe, the companies that have already invested in the country, they are reinvesting," he said.
The Indian high commissioner said this while speaking at a seminar for business and economic journalists at the Indian High Commission in Dhaka.
The Indian High Commission in Dhaka organized the seminar to discuss the immense scope for improving bilateral trade relations between India and Bangladesh.
Vikram K Doraiswami said there is huge trade potential between Bangladesh and India if Dhaka improves the ease of doing business and completes the development of connectivity.
"India is giving duty-free access to its market to almost all products of Bangladesh except 25, including alcohol, to reduce the trade gap between the neighbouring nations since 2011," he added.
Doraiswami said Bangladesh's export is not dependent on a single product rather the export is diversifying, like plastic, food processing, leather, etc.
Bilateral trade data show that trade is still in favour of India but the situation is improving year on year as the export of Bangladesh is increasing, he said.
The Indian envoy said that now India is the top export destination for Bangladesh with $1,279.67 million in fiscal year 2019-20, followed by Japan with $1183.64 million.
Indo-Bangla trade and connectivity
During the seminar, Commercial Officer of the High Commission of India Dr Pramyesh Basall presented a paper titled “India-Bangladesh Bilateral Trade and Connectivity, Accelerating Growth and Shared Prosperity”.
In his speech, Pramyesh Basall informed that according to the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA), total registered Indian FDI investment stands at $3.55 billion.
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He mentioned that Indian and Bangladeshi companies signed agreements worth nearly $10 billion of Indian investments, mainly in the power and energy sector, during the visit of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to India in April 2017.
He also informed that 355 Indian companies have invested in Bangladesh and with the Indian Economic Zones coming up at Mongla and Mirsarai, Indian FDI is bound to increase manifold.
Regarding connectivity and its benefit, Pramyesh Basall said Bangladesh's exports to India could increase by 182% and India's exports to Bangladesh by 126% if the countries sign a free trade agreement.
"Improving transport connectivity could increase exports even further, yielding a 297% increase in Bangladesh's exports to India and 172% increase in India's exports to Bangladesh," he noted.
He also said seamless transport connectivity between India and Bangladesh has the potential to increase national income by as much as 17% in Bangladesh and 8% in India.
Basall sees huge potential in export of Bangladeshi construction materials like cement and steel to northeastern states of India as huge infrastructure development work is going on there.
According to him, Bangladesh can use river route to reduce transport cost as well as use Sabroom land port in South Tripura near Ramgarh of Khagrachhari from where products can be transported to other northeastern states at cheaper cost.
Railway Adviser of the High Commission of India Anita Barik presented a paper titled “India-Bangladesh Railway Cooperation”.
In her speech, Anita Barik suggested using railway transpiration to reduce transport cost from India.
She reminded previous rail connectivity between Bangladesh and India that was suspended during Indo-Pakistan war in 1965.
"We are emphasizing reconnecting all previous alignments between the two countries to make bilateral trade cheaper," she noted.
Deputy High Commissioner Binoy George and Resident Representative of Exim Bank of India Priyanshu Tiwari also spoke at the program.