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Northeastern region significant for India-Bangladesh trade ties: Minister

Mumbai, Feb 14: Bangladesh is setting up a World Trade Centre at Chittagong port, which will help strengthen trade ties with India, a Bangladeshi Minister has said. Shahriar Alam, Bangladesh’s State Minister for Foreign Affairs, said: “Trade remains the fundamental basis of India-Bangladesh relations and the establishment of a World Trade Centre in Chittagong will help strengthen our trade cooperation.” He said that Bangladesh considers the Northeastern states of India as a potential market, particularly in the sector of FMCGs. He was speaking at an interactive meeting held at the World Trade Centre here on Monday.

Urging the WTC Mumbai to work together with WTC Chittagong, Alam said that two Special Economic Zones (SEZ) in the north-west of Bangladesh bordering India were dedicated to Indian businesses.

The presence of the Indian private sector in Bangladesh is growing and in recent years Reliance has been actively involved in the LNG sector, Adani is setting up a coal-based power plant and Tata is expanding its manufacturing operations in the country, he said. Godrej too is present in Bangladesh, Alam said, according to an official release. He said another important area of cooperation is in Blue Economy where spatial planning integrates conservation, sustaible use of living resources, oil and mineral wealth extraction, bio-prospecting, sustaible energy production and marine transport.

Alam said that both countries have signed a Memorandum of Understanding in the area of coastal shipping and added that there was great potential for cooperation in the fishing sector. Vijay Kalantri, Vice Chairman, World Trade Centre Mumbai and President, All India Association of Industries said the trade between the two countries had grown by more than 17 per cent in the last five years. “India’s exports to Bangladesh in 2015-16 (July-June) were $5,453 million and imports from Bangladesh were $690 million,” Kalantri said. (IANS)