Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN) – Former Governor of Bangladesh Bank (BB) Atiur Rahman has emphasized on removing non-tariff barriers (NTBs) for boosting bilateral trade relations between India and Bangladesh.
Professor Rahman made the observations while addressing at a workshop held in New Delhi on Thursday with Prithviraj Nath, Associate Director of CUTS International, in the chair.
Besides infrastructural deficit, the former BB governor also indentified a number of non-tariff barriers including regulatory hurdles, absence of harmonized standards, lack of mutually acceptable certification facilities on both sides of the border and capacity related challenges.
Dr. Rahman advised civil society organizations and think tanks to carry on focused research and advocacy on these issues to ensure that governments take advantage of the existing positive political understanding for initiating positive policy and actions on the ground to remove these challenges.
“Given the proximity and common consumption pattern Bangladesh and India are not definitely utilizing fully the opportunities of bilateral trade” the senior economist explained.
He also said that on the Indian side of the border the land port facilities have been improved significantly.
“Facilities on the Bangladesh part need to be at par with those to ensure effective trade. Line of credit from India to Bangladesh is being utilized in developing railway infrastructure,” he noted.
He also said: “We can also utilize this credit in developing our land port infrastructure as well. We can benefit from the experience of India in developing land ports as well.”
Dr. Rahman also asked policy makers to take note of the valuable lessons being learned through innovative trade measures like border hats and take appropriate policy moves at a wider scale for mutual benefits.
Besides, he brought to the notice of the participants the existing information asymmetry on the ground and advised officials at the border points to be well equipped with legal and regulatory requirements so that they can explain these to both exporters and importers.
“Awareness raising initiatives are needed to further sensitize all stakeholders about the benefits of improved bilateral trade,” he said.
Dr. Rahman also advised to hold regular policy discussions with multi-level stakeholders to ease trade facilitation.
Among others, Stephen Wide of USAID and Anil Jauhuri, chief executive officer (CEO) of National Accreditation Board of Certification Bodies, India also spoke on the workshop, organized by CUTS International.
Stakeholders representing government, think tanks, trade bodies, NGOs from the sub-region participated in the workshop, according to a message, received in Dhaka from New Delhi.