Nepal’s 100 items may get duty-free entry to Bangladesh

Bangladesh may give Nepal a duty-free access for 100 of its products, especially vegetables and agricultural ones, as those have a higher demand in Bangladesh, said an official of the commerce ministry of Bangladesh yesterday. On the other hand, Bangladesh sought from Nepal a duty cut on exports of electronics goods, pharmaceuticals and agro-processed food items, said Commerce Secretary Ghulam Hussain.
Currently Bangladesh and Nepal are in talks to boost bilateral trade through a reduction in duties in overseas trade.
In the ongoing fourth secretary-level meeting in its capital Kathmandu, Nepal also demanded transit facility for smooth transportation of goods between the two countries, said the official.
In the discussion, which began on Sunday, Nepal also called upon Bangladesh to sign the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement as many Nepalese students come to Bangladesh for higher studies. Nepal has already signed such a deal with India.
“During the meeting Nepal proposed allowing a duty-free access of 100 of its products, especially farm and vegetables,” Hussain told The Daily Star over telephone from Nepal.
“We are in talks now. Nothing is finalised yet. Nepal demanded the duty-free benefit. We have formed some committees for conducting feasibility studies on the demand,” he said without elaborating further.
An eight-member Bangladeshi delegation is in Nepal to attend the secretary-level meeting and to discuss bilateral trade issues. Hussain is leading the team, which returns home today.
As lentil is the major export item of Nepal, the country particularly demanded the duty-free access for lentil and tomato as its exporters face difficulties while exporting these produce to Bangladesh due to higher duties.
Another senior official of the commerce ministry said Bangladesh wants Nepal to use Mongla Port instead of premier Chittagong Port, which is already burdened with cargoes.
Trade between the two countries is in favour of Nepal as Bangladesh imports bulk lentils from Nepal.
Bangladesh exports electronics goods, garment items, agro-processed food items and pharmaceuticals products to Nepal.
According to data from the commerce ministry, Bangladesh exported goods worth $10.84 million to Nepal in fiscal 2010-11, while imported products of $49.00 million.

-With The Daily Star input

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