Dhaka, Thursday

09 December 2021

Business Insider Bangladesh
Rangdhonu Group

Bangladesh wants trans-shipment obstacles to go for effective BBIN

BI Report || BusinessInsider

Published: 20:59, 21 November 2021  
Bangladesh wants trans-shipment obstacles to go for effective BBIN

Photo illustration: Business Insider Bangladesh


Bangladesh wants to see effective Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal initiative to increase bilateral trade with them all as coronavirus infection has substantially declined, an official of commerce ministry said.

The BBIN Initiative, a sub-regional architecture of countries of South Asia, meets through official representation of member states to formulate, implement and review quadrilateral agreements across areas such as water resources management, connectivity of power, transport, and infrastructure.

As Bhutan did not ratify the deal in their parliament, the country is not taking part in the group, anymore, at this point, officials said.

Still, Bangladesh has urged India to remove barriers to trans-shipment of cargo vehicles across Indian territories. India has been urged to resolve the crisis under the BBIN affiliation.

Besides, foreign minister Abdul Momen said, “We want speedy implementation of the BBIN Motor Vehicle Agreement to enhance regional connectivity in South Asia.”

An official of the commerce minister citing a recent meeting that was held in New Delhi, said, India there emphasised on the need for the government to make strong preparations.

Bangladesh’s commerce ministry sources said the country’s export trade with other countries of the world including India is increasing due to waning Covid-19 infections. But despite the BBIN attachment, exports volume to Nepal and Bhutan are not increasing as officials had expected.

As a result, the biggest hurdle in this case is trans-shipment of goods among the countries using Indian territories.

The South Asia Sub -Division under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs thinks that Bangladesh’s shipments to Nepal and Bhutan will increase significantly if the crisis over India’s land use is resolved. Concerned parties say that the four SAARC countries, especially Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal have huge trade demand for each other’s products.

There are also travel issues. But as there is no transit facility in the communication system between the four countries, it takes extra time and money to conduct trade.

Sources in the commerce ministry also said, with this in mind, the governments of the four countries decided to introduce major transit to further develop the friendship and trade relations between the four countries. Then the process of implementing the agreement begins. However, due to the withdrawal of Bhutan from BBIN, the activities of BBIN have come to a standstill.

No agreement has been reached on the deal for more than two years due to the coronavirus pandemic. But now initiatives are being taken to make BBIN effective again among countries.

BBIN’s land-locked countries Nepal and Bhutan would have special access to Kolkata and Haldia ports of India, and Chittagong and Mongla ports of Bangladesh.

Experts believe that trade through Bangladesh’s land ports will rise significantly if transit is made effective and regional road connectivity is established.

In this context, Commerce Secretary Tapan Kanti Ghosh told the Business Insider on Thursday that BBIN needs to be made effective. Although Bhutan has not yet joined the BBIN, the country is likely to join at a later stage. For this reason, BBIN should be made effective between the three countries, especially Bangladesh, India and Nepal, he added.

The secretary said India’s land use was needed to export goods by land to Bhutan and Nepal. There are a lot of trans-shipment mortgages. In this case, the crisis needs to be overcome.