Ban on onion export

'Understanding between Bangladesh and India will weaken'

Flags of Bangladesh and India
Flags of Bangladesh and India
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Bangladesh had earlier requested India not to stop exports of daily essentials like onion.

The friendly neighbour also asked India to it inform Bangladesh in advance if it took any decision to ban exports of daily food items.

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So India’s decision to ban onion export will weaken the discussions and negotiations of 2019 and 2010 between two close-door neighbours.

Bangladesh shared such concerns in a letter to India on Wednesday.

Acting foreign secretary retired admiral Khurshid Alam confirmed this to Prothom Alo on Wednesday.

Several hundred onion-laden trucks are waiting at different borders to enter Bangladesh

Bangladesh requested India to start onion export again considering excellent relations between two countries.

India’s commerce and industries ministry imposed a ban on onion export on Monday.

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Following the decision, the price of Indian onions increased from Tk 55 to Tk 70 in the Bangladesh market over the last two days. The government has started open market sale (OMS) to tackle the market.

Commerce minister Tipu Munshi held a press conference on the stock, supply and price of onion at the secretariat on Wednesday.

When asked whether India’s ban on onion export is political or whether there was any conspiracy behind this, the commerce minister said, “It is difficult to understand when India will stop export. I understand trade better than politics. Our foreign ministry has sent a note verbal to India in this regard.”

Communication between Dhaka and Delhi

Speaking to officials of the foreign ministry in Dhaka and Bangladesh high commission in Delhi, it is learnt that Bangladesh started communication with India after Monday afternoon. Bangladesh requested India to resolve the problem considering the friendly relations between two countries. A request was also made to clear LCs (letter of credits) already opened to import onion if India is unable to withdraw ban on onion export.

Several hundred onion-laden trucks are waiting at different borders to enter Bangladesh.

Diplomatic sources indicate it is not clear whether India will withdraw the ban on onion export.

Foreign ministry officials said a note verbal (letter) has been sent to the Indian high commission in Dhaka. According to the letter, India’s sudden ban on onion export has made Bangladesh worried as this will directly affect the supply of essentials in Bangladesh market.

Bangladesh, at the meeting of commerce secretaries of two countries on 15-16 January, requested India not to stop exports of daily food items. At the meeting, a request was made to India to inform Bangladesh in advance if it took any decision to ban on export.

During a state visit to India, prime minister Sheikh Hasina raised the issue. A request was made at that time to inform Bangladesh if India takes any such decision.

Production of local variety of onion higher

There are 500,000 tonnes of onion in the stock in the country.

Finance minister AHM Mustafa Kamal said they will consider withdrawing the five per cent of duty on onion import

Commerce minister Tipu Mushi said more onions are being imported from different countries at the public and private level.

He also said onions are being imported from Turkey and Egypt through the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) and these onion will reach the country shortly.

TCB has planned to build up a big stock of onions this year. There will be no crisis of onions.

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The commerce minister said a section of traders has taken advantage of India’s decision to ban onion export.

Tipu Munshi said about 100,000 (1 lakh) more tonnes of onions were produced this year compared to last year. A watch was kept on the international onion market in advance. So onions were imported through TCB, and OMS started on 13 September, with onions selling for Tk 30 per kg across the country.

Duty on onion import likely to go

Speaking to newsmen, finance minister AHM Mustafa Kamal said they will consider withdrawing the five per cent of duty on onion import.

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