‘Of course, domestic market of Bangladesh with 160 million consumers is huge but you can also think about the Indian market while producing products and services,’ he said addressing the luncheon meeting of the Foreign Investors’ Chamber of Commerce and Industry at the Westin Hotel in Dhaka.
Foreign investors also can take advantage of duty-free and quota-free market access for most of the Bangladeshi products except 25 tobacco and alcoholic items to Indian market through making investment here, he said.
Admiring the efforts of PRAN-RFL Group, which produces agro and plastic products, to enter in Indian market, he said that this was the right direction for the Bangladeshi companies which can create bridge between the two countries.
Pankaj also urged the Indian companies to invest in the two special economic zones at Mongla in Khulna and at Bheramara in Kushtia which Bangladesh government had decided to dedicate for Indian investors.
Bangladesh may become one of the attractive destinations for Indian investors after full implementation of the agreements signed between the two governments during the visit of Indian prime minister Narendra Modi last June, he hoped.
Over the last 5 to 10 years, Bangladesh has been getting greater attention from Indian investors, he added.
He also emphasised on creation of common economic space in the forms of common market and common economic resources based on already existing lots of integration between the two countries.
Expressing frustration over the insufficient efforts made by the two countries on modernizing and expanding border infrastructures, he said that inadequate infrastructure failed to keep pace with the need of businesses and investors.
‘In my views, para-tariffs and other standards issues are not the main barrier, but the real issue is inadequate border infrastructure,’ Pankaj said.
The border infrastructure was built in 1947 and neither Dhaka nor New Delhi focused to modernize and expand the infrastructure, he said.
Even the countries could not materialize the transit agreements in 42 years as only less than one per cent of river cargos carried between the two countries is transit cargos, he said.
Replying to a question
on allocating land in favor of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association in India for establishing warehouse, he said that no decision had been made yet on the issue and BGMEA leaders were invited to visit India to explore the potential site for the purpose.
FICCI president Rupali Chowdhury in her opening remarks said that both Bangladesh and India had to consider signing bilateral free trade agreements which should not have any non-tariff barriers.
She said that a practical solution with effective strategy needed to be worked out for removal of tariff and quasi-tariff barriers to narrow down the existing huge trade gap of around US$ 6 billion against Bangladesh in trade between the two countries.
Bangladesh is capable of being the hub for trade of the region and the motor vehicle agreements among Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Bhutan will pave the way for freer regional trade, she said.
For reaching US$ 10 billion target of trade, the two countries should open new land customs stations and harmonization and mutual recognition of standards and removal of tariff and non-tariff barriers are needed, she added.
FICCI executive member Christopher Young and executive director Jamil Osman also spoke at the meeting while business leaders including the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry president Abdul Matlub Ahmad and FICCI members attended the meeting.
Source: New Age