Lifting of countervailing duty demanded
Bangladesh placed Monday a 13-point proposal to India including introduction of car pass system in all customs houses, lifting of port restrictions on goods and exchange of information and relevant customs data.
The proposals were made at the ninth meeting of the India-Bangladesh Joint Group of Customs officials in a city hotel.
For revenue protection and trade facilitation, both the customs teams of Bangladesh and India agreed on synchronisation of timing at Benapole border point and easing of port restrictions for smooth movement of import and export goods.
The Indian delegation, headed by Revenue Secretary Sumit Bose, attended the meeting.
National Board of Revenue (NBR) Chairman Ghulam Hussain led the Bangladesh team comprising senior customs officials.
The meeting will conclude today (Tuesday).
A senior customs official, who attended the meeting, said the Bangladesh customs agreed to keep Benapole and Akhaura land ports open for all seven days a week.
Also, some 16 land ports will remain open from 7 am to 6.30 pm, he added.
There will be also free movement of customs officials in two countries to discuss complexities, if any, relating to release of goods from ports, he added.
The customs official said the Indian counterpart has agreed to share information on a number of items entering Bangladesh to check false declaration.
To check duty evasion and expedite release of goods, car pass system has been introduced in Benapole and some ports in eastern part of Bangladesh.
The customs authorities of Bangladesh proposed to introduce such a system in other land ports so that trucks could unload goods into the warehouses.
Sources alleged that some trucks entering through land ports sometimes vanish with goods before checking. Such irregularities could be checked through car passes.
Bangladesh also proposed to see infrastructure in Indian land ports improved and set up testing facilities for plant quarantine and detection of radioactive ingredients.
Bangladesh also sought recognition of certificates issued by the Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution (BSTI) and the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA).
Another customs official said Indian customs sometimes takes a long time to release products from ports as they do not accept BSTI certificates.
“The Indian customs often sends sample products to their laboratory. The procedure usually takes a long time causing unusual harassment to the exporters of Bangladesh,” he said.
To check duty evasion, Dhaka proposed reconciliation of import and export information, exchange of intelligence information between the two customs for revenue, environmental protection and security interest.
On policy issues, Dhaka proposed lifting of countervailing duty on Bangladeshi goods, mainly readymade garments.
The customs official said the Indian counterpart assured Bangladesh of conveying the proposal to the high-ups on lifting of the countervailing duty.
On lifting restriction in ports, both the customs authorities agreed to review capacities of their respective sides to allow increased number of products for export and import.
The Indian team will visit Chittagong port today (Tuesday). The joint group will also wrap up its meeting in Dhaka on the day.