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Economists and businesses have said the imposition of anti-dumping duty on Bangladeshi export products by India would jeopardise Bangladesh’s recent initiatives to increase trade and business with its next-door neighbour and to narrow the trade gap between the two countries.
The trade gap, which is heavily in India’s favour, was $4.76 billion in the financial year 2015-16 while the deficit was $5.28 billion in FY15, according to the Bangladesh Bank data.
Economists and businesses said after jute goods, the imposition by India anti-dumping duty on export of hydrogen peroxide, a textile chemical, from Bangladesh was unexpected and a matter of concern as the duty would hit Bangladesh’s trade with India.
On January 5, India imposed anti-dumping duty ranging from $19 to $351.72 a tonne on jute goods from Bangladesh while the country on April 10 imposed the same duty ranging from $27.81 to $91.47 a tonne on hydrogen peroxide.
The April 10 decision came just after prime minister Sheikh Hasina ended her four-day India visit on the day where she requested Indian prime minister Narendra Modi to withdraw the anti-dumping duty imposed on jute goods and Modi assured that he would look into the matter.
Earlier on March 31, the Indian authorities initiated an investigation to assess whether it would impose the same duty on Bangladeshi fishing nets.
‘The imposition of anti-dumping duty by India on export of hydrogen peroxide from Bangladesh is totally unwanted,’ former interim government adviser Mirza Azizul Islam told New Age on April 13.
He said Bangladesh imports in huge quantity from India and exports very little. The trade gap between the two countries would widen due to the imposition of such duty by India on Bangladeshi export products, he said.
‘Now Bangladesh government should engage in a strong negotiation with the Indian authorities to withdraw the duty,’ he said.
Mirza Aziz said, ‘Bangladesh imports mostly raw materials from India but we can consider launching investigation [to impose anti-dumping duty] on the consumer goods India exports to Bangladesh,’ he said.
Mustafizur Rahman, distinguished fellow of the Centre for Policy Dialogue, said that the imposition of anti-dumping duty on Bangladeshi jute goods and hydrogen peroxide was quite unexpected.
‘We have heard that India is going to impose anti-dumping duty also on fishing nets export from Bangladesh and now our commerce ministry should have to take preparation to hold an effective discussion with the authorities concerned of India over the issue,’ he said.
Bangladesh needs strong preparation to face any future anti-dumping investigation of Indian authorities and to initiate anti-dumping investigation directing at Indian export products, Mustafiz said.
He said prime minister Sheikh Hasina, during her recent India visit, raised the issue of anti-dumping duty imposed by India on jute goods from Bangladesh and the Indian government assured her that it would look into the matter.
‘In the light of the prime minister’s visit, we have to follow up the jute anti-dumping duty issue,’ Mustafiz said.
‘The imposition of anti-dumping duty on hydrogen peroxide by Indian authorities just after the visit of Bangladesh’s prime minister is a matter of serious concern,’ said Abul Khasem Khan, president of the Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The decision from the policy level and the implementation level should be similar, otherwise bilateral trade would be hampered, he said.
India should resolve the issue through discussion, Kasem said.
‘Bangladesh was demeaned by imposition of the 2nd anti-dumping duty by India just after Bangladesh’s prime minister’s visit to Delhi,’ he said.
According to the official data, Bangladesh’s imports from India stood at $5.45 billion in the financial year 2015-16 while exports accounted for $689.62 million during the period.
In FY15, Bangladesh’s exports to India stood $527.16 million while the imports were $5.81 billion.
Bangladesh-India bilateral trade witnessed huge gap in last 10 years and it always remains in India’s favour.
Export Promotion Bureau and the BB data showed that Bangladesh’s trade gap with India recorded an all-time high in FY14 and the trade deficit was at $5.57 billion in the financial year.
Bangladesh’s exports to India in the financial year 2013-14 stood at $456.63 million while imports from India amounted to $6.03 billion, according to the data.
Though India provides duty-free market access for Bangladeshi products, Bangladesh’s exports to India have been facing hindrances due to various tariff and non-tariff barriers, exporters said.
Source: New Age