India may sell cotton to Bangladesh


NEW DELHI: India may sell cotton to Bangladesh through a contractual agreement between the Cotton Corporation of India and its counterpart in Dhaka after concerns were raised by a visiting official delegation over the present restrictions on exports.

“Bangladesh emphasised that they would require uninterrupted export of at least 15 lakh bales every year. In this regard, both sides would hold further discussions before end of May,” according to the summary record of the meeting of the commerce secretaries from both countries in New Delhi. Bangladesh commerce secretary Md Ghulam Hussain met his Indian counterpart Rahul Khullar on Thursday, eight years after the last meeting between commerce secretaries from both countries, to discuss ways to deepen trade ties. “We agreed that we will try to hold the commerce secretary level meeting on a annual basis from now on,” Khullar said addressing a joint press conference.

Bangladesh, which is heavily dependent on cotton imports from India for its textile industry, expressed its apprehension on the ban on registration of fresh cotton for exports in India. “India said that it will consider selling cotton to Bangladesh on a government-to-government basis but on commercial lines. The details will be worked out in our meeting in May,” a government official told ET. Both sides also agreed to renew the existing bilateral trade agreement, which expires on March 31, and make changes to bring it in line with the requirements of the present time. “We agreed we will renew the treaty and make it more pragmatic and timely,” Hussain said.

The treaty, which lays down concessions given by the two sides to each other and steps that are to be taken to increase trade, will be renewed for a period of three years.

India pointed out at the meeting that it was facing problems in using Bangladesh waterways. India said that all feasible transhipment may be allowed to continue with the existing infrastructure at Ashuganj port without waiting for upgradation of infrastructure. Movement of food grains for Tripura may also be facilitated.

Goods may also be allowed to be sent through appropriate customs bond.