Focus on bilateral trade with Assam

The central government of India is focusing on advancing trade relations between Bangladesh and Assam and wants the two sides to benefit from regional trade opportunities.  On the other hand, representatives of Assam are also strongly demanding that trade between the two regions grow.

Abdul Matlub Ahmed, President of India Bangladesh Chamber, came up with the comment while speaking at a press briefing on the recently concluded conference on ‘India- Bangladesh Stakeholders' Meet’ on Investment, Trade and Connectivity, at the Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel in the capital on Monday. In the conference, Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi, Assam Chief Minister Sarbanand Sonowal, Prime Minister’s economic advisor Mosiur Rahman, deputy secretary of Bangladesh Land Port Authority, Alauddin Fakir, Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Dev, Indian ambassador to Bangladesh Riva Das Ganguly participated. 

The conference was jointly organised by India Chamber of Commerce and the Assam Government, to find a possible solution on how to enhance bilateral trade relations between Bangladesh and Assam. 

It is to be noted, despite the north east state being so close, commercial communication between Bangladesh and Assam.  In order to enhance bilateral trade communication, Abdul Matlub Ahmed said, without commercially viable connectivity, it is not possible to increase trade between these countries.  “Here we can use the Brahmaputra river as a reliable route for commercial communication, which can stimulate trade and investment in the two regions. But due to poor navigability, both countries are investing in dredging,” he said. 

“To overcome the complexity, at present, India Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and Sylhet Chamber of Commerce have agreed to use 50 Shallow Draft Barges through the river. These barges will be used in transporting stone, coal, TMT iron bar and others. On the contrary, the country will export garment products, glass, scrap iron, etc. to India. Both countries will be profitable as it will save money and time” added Matlub.

During the conference, Tipu Munshi said that Bangladesh and North East India could benefit from improved physical connectivity and people-to-people contact. Better connectivity would enhance consumers' welfare through access to goods at competitive prices and enhance opportunities for exporters.