India calls for cross-border container train service | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 16, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, March 16, 2018

India calls for cross-border container train service

India has requested Bangladesh to take measures to introduce container train services between the two neighbours by this month in order to boost cross-border trade.

At a commerce ministry level meeting in Dhaka last month, India said a trial run of the containerised freight train through Petrapole-Benapole, Darshana-Gede or any other rail link is expected to be made by March.

A railway ministry official has confirmed the development. He said the train carrying containers would travel up to the west of the Bangabandhu bridge. 

Following the test run, a formal protocol for the containerised movement will be developed, according to the minutes of the meeting.

India also wanted Bangladesh to extend cooperation to facilitate the trial runs and an early finalisation of the protocol. The host side agreed to convey the matter to the relevant authorities.

Commerce Secretary Shubhashish Bose led the Bangladesh side while his Indian counterpart Rita Teaotia was the leader of the Indian delegation.

In another development, Hero Group of India has set up a manufacturing facility in Jessore, as part of a joint venture with Nitol-Niloy Group of Bangladesh, according to the minutes.  

The joint venture has sought exemption of 15 percent VAT from the National Board of Revenue.

To avail the exemption, the NBR has informed that the manufacturing unit should buy materials, including raw materials and other products, from Bangladesh.

Dhaka raised the issue of India's imposition of anti-dumping duty on jute goods and some other products exported from Bangladesh. It requested India to review the duty for jute products.

The Indian side said anti-dumping investigations are carried out by the Directorate General of Anti-Dumping through quasi-judicial proceedings and, there is little scope for the government to intervene in the process.

However, India said a review, if applied by Bangladesh, would be examined as per the law. New Delhi's demonetisation move has left an impact on over 5 million Indian rupees being held by Bangladesh, according to the minutes.

Sonali Bank is holding 534,500 Indian rupees in 500 and 1,000-rupee banknotes thanks to some legal transactions at border haats. In addition, Bangladesh Bank is holding about 500 million Indian rupees seized by customs authorities at border posts and airports. The Reserve Bank of India said the current law does not allow foreign nationals or institutions to exchange or deposit specified bank notes or the demonetised currency.

Dhaka said Bangladeshi businesses are interested to export Bangladesh-originated cargoes from Indian airports, such as Kolkata or any other Indian gateway airports, using their unused cargo space, as airports in Bangladesh sometimes find it difficult to provide the service because of a lack of cargo space.

The Indian side said even though the use of airways is not specifically stated in the India Bangladesh Trade Agreement, it would examine the proposal upon the reception of a proposal from Bangladesh.

The visiting side sought cooperation from Dhaka for early implementation of the Bangladesh Bhutan India and Nepal Motor Vehicle Agreement.

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