- Apr 17, 2009
This is the latest on the trade and transit with Bangladesh.India seeks transit facility through 15 routes in Bangladesh: report
Posted: Mon Apr 18 2011, 11:55 hrs Dhaka:
India has sought transit facilities to third countries as well as its northeastern states through 15 road and railway routes and ports in Bangladesh, a media report said here today.
The Financial Express newspaper said India submitted a proposal to Dhaka seeking to use the road, railway and facilities of Bangladesh's Chittagong and Mongla ports to carryout its exports and imports with third countries and transport goods to and from its southeastern region......
"New Delhi has invited Bangladesh government to sign a protocol for a period of seven years for the purpose of transit, corridor and use of two ports"....
A foreign ministry spokesman here confirmed the report acknowledging the receipt of the proposal ......
The paper said the road and rail routes, sought by India in the proposed protocol were – Akhaura-Agartala, Sabroom-Ramgarh, Demagiri-Thegamukh, Bibir Bazar-Srimantpur, Belonia-Belonia, Betuli-Old Raghna Bazar, Chatlapur-Manu, Tamabil-Dawki, Borosora-Borosora, Haluaghat-Ghasuapara, Sonamganj-Shellbazar, Darshanak-Gede, Rohanpur-Singhabad, Birol-Radhikapur and Benapole-Petrapole.
The proposed protocol, it said, also expressed Indian willingness to import and export goods from and to third countries through southeastern Chittagong and southwestern Mongla ports, use warehouse facilities under exempted customs duties.
"Movement of cargo under the protocol shall be exempted from customs duties and other charges except reasonable charges for transportation and such other charges as are commensurate with the cost of services rendered in respect of such movement," the paper quoted the proposed protocol as saying. ....
According to the proposal, Bangladesh customs could not examine any Indian containerised cargo if it is sealed (one-time-lock) but in respect of non-containerised ones, the customs house may make a selective percentage examination of the goods to check if the goods were in accordance with customs declaration. .......
Commerce Minister Faruque Khan yesterday told PTI that Bangladesh would soon decide its final stance on fees for transit facilities to India as the issue continued to dominate the center stage of Dhaka-New Delhi relations and the country's domestic politics.......
commission suggested transit routes, charges, traffic volumes, investments and benefits and proposed equal transit fees for all countries which would range between USD 4 and 50 per tonne of goods as transit fees depending on routes chosen by the user.
"We have submitted the report online and recommended the imposition of charge in line with World Trade Organisation rules," Tariff Commission Chairman Mujibur Rahman told ......
....under the General Agreements on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and BangladeshÂ¿s 1969 Customs Act the country cannot impose customs duties or tax on transit traffic.
"But there are no restrictions on imposing transit charge on the movement of transit traffic in order to recover various types of costs related to administrative expenses such as costs of customs formalities, customs inspection and charge for use of services," it said........
He, however, added, "expensive transit fees might not bring the desired benefits".
The debate on providing transit to India sparked a afresh two months ago when opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party appeared to have revived an old an anti-transit campaign as Prime Minister Sheikh HasinaÂ¿s government is set to allow Indian transports to carry goods to its isolated northeastern states through the country.
"No foreign vehicle would be allowed to go through the country at the cost of the country's interests," she told a party rally after finance minister AMA Muhith said Dhaka would charge India transit fees instead of duties in exchange of offering the transit facilities.
There is of course still a long way to go.
If the treaty is accepted, then it will help Bangladesh's trade with Nepal and Bhutan and will help India by having a shorter route to the NE.
It will go a long way in improving relationships as well as each other's economy.
However, the BNP may not be pleased!