India agrees to export seven essential items to Bangladesh: Tipu

Commerce minister Tipu MunshiFile photo

India has agreed to supply seven essential items, including rice, wheat, sugar and onion, to Bangladesh as per the country's demand, commerce minister Tipu Munshi has said.

While addressing a press conference at the secretariat on Tuesday about the outcomes of the two-day Bangladesh-India commerce minister level meeting held on 22-23 December in New Delhi, Tipu Munshi said, "Annual quota facility has been sought to India for importing major essential items like rice, wheat, sugar and onion to face the possible food crisis. They (India) have agreed to fix such quota as per our requirement."

The minister led the Bangladesh delegation in the meeting while Indian commerce minister Piyush Goyal led the Indian side.

About the annual quota, the commerce minister said that India told the Bangladesh delegation that they would fix the quota within the next two months after reviewing the actual demand of Bangladesh.

He said during the meeting, Bangladesh has requested India to withdraw the anti-dumping duty imposed earlier in 2017 on the Bangladeshi Jute-made goods.

"In response, they (India) have assured us of actively considering the matter," added Tipu.

The minister said both Bangladesh and India have agreed to sign the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) within the shortest possible time. "Hopefully such agreement will be signed very soon."

He also said that the issue of currency swap was also discussed in the meeting, but the matter was in the initial stage. "The issue of possible benefits of the country from currency swap will be considered first," he said.

In response to the Indian side's suggestion for reopening the bordering huts which were closed earlier due to the pandemic, Tipu said that they have informed the Indian government that efforts are on to reopening the border huts.

He said that three border huts are now under operation while another one will be opened soon.

During the visit, the commerce minister also met the Indian finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

Commerce ministry senior secretary Tapan Kanti Ghosh, additional secretary (FTA) Nur Md Mahbubul Haque, WTO cell director general Md Hafizur Rahman and additional secretary (export) M Abdur Rahim Khan were also present, among others, at the press conference.