The volume of trade between Tripura and Bangladesh has increased by 158 percent over the past three years, officials said on Friday.
However, the bilateral trade relationship is still uneven as only 30% of trade volume involves exports to Bangladesh and 70% of trade comes from goods imported from the country – an issue Prime Minister Narendra Modi will discuss with the Prime Minister of Bangladesh. , Sheikh Hasina on September 6.
Speaking to reporters at the State Secretariat, Special Secretary for Industries and Commerce, Abhishek Chandra said that while the trade volume with Bangladesh was Rs 390.68 crore, the figures now stand at Rs. 1,008.4 crores.
However, he said some issues still existed in certain sectors and these would be addressed by Modi with Hasina during his visit to New Delhi.
“There are still problems in some areas. Two Border Haats with Bangladesh were shut down during Covid and not restarted. We have applied to allow the movement of goods and services through them, but we are still awaiting approval. There are also objections over an Integrated Check Post (ICP) at Muhurighat in South Tripura. Prime Minister Modi has agreed to raise these issues with the Prime Minister of Bangladesh on September 6,” the official said.
Speaking on the trade deficit on the Indian side, the official said that the state government had identified 26 products for which the trade volume could increase, but only 16 of them were allowed for export by Bangladesh. These include rubber and tea, two of Tripura’s most important cash crops, which have the potential to significantly improve the state’s trade prospects.
“Rubber goes to Bangladesh from Petrapole-Benapole in West Bengal. If we could send it from here, that alone could boost the prospects. Our tea can be exported there with an 80% duty, which makes it uncompetitive in Bangladesh. This is why our trade balance is distorted. The Prime Minister would discuss different North East Indian issues with the Prime Minister of Bangladesh including issues relating to Tripura.
In terms of volume, Indo-Bangladesh trade through six land based customs posts (LCS) and integrated checkpoints in Tripura increased by Rs 14.65 crore in 2018-19, Rs 30.34 crore in 2019-20 and of Rs 16.39 crore in 2020-21.
Interestingly, although Tripura cannot export its main cash crops, rubber and tea to Bangladesh, the highest export volume comes from wheat, which is not even grown in a major way in India. State. Tripura is used as an export corridor for the product instead of a growing region.
The special secretary for industry and commerce also said that as part of the sectoral development, the Indo-Bangladeshi Friendship Bridge over the Feni River will be inaugurated on September 9. The bridge will provide access to the port of Chittagong in Bangladesh and increase the volume of trade.
He also said that a trial was carried out recently with the port of Mongla in Bangladesh, but that services should now be made more regular.
On another front, the official said Tripura’s industrial prospects are set for a bright future with 81 Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) signed with different companies at an industrial summit last year.
However, many industrial areas, including factories in Bodhjungnanagar, the largest industrial area in Tripura, lack good power and road connectivity. The government has moved to improve power and road connectivity in these areas, for which a proposal involving Rs 35 crore has been approved in principle by the central government.