Dhaka keen on industrial joint ventures with New Delhi: Bangladesh minister

dhakaAgartala, (IANS) Bangladesh is keen to develop its industries in a joint venture with India and boost bilateral trade, Bangladesh Industry Minister Alhaz Amir Hossain Amu said here on Saturday.

“India can be an effective, important and liberal partner of Bangladesh in setting up of modern technology-based medium and heavy industries,” the minister said while addressing an industrial investment summit here.

He said if Indian businessmen and investors come forward to set up industries in Bangladesh, the ongoing trade imbalance between the two neighbours would be reduced to a large extent.

Quoting the facts of the Bangladesh Investment Board, Amu said: “There are 98 direct investment and 212 joint investment projects, with the total volume of investment of $3,084.46 million operational in Bangladesh, making scope of employment of 63,300 people.”

The visiting minister said that Bangladesh imported goods worth of $6 billion from India in 2013-14 while it exported to India commodities valued at $456 million in the same year.

In 2014-15, according to the minister, Bangladesh imported goods worth of $5.8 billion from India and exported 98 items including fish, egg, milk products, electrical goods, horticultural and agricultural items, fruits, plastic and ceramic goods worth $527 million to India.

Amu said: “Bangladesh imported over 3,000 items from India. If India increases its imports from Bangladesh with duty friendly regime then the friendship between the two neighbours would go to new heights.”

“Bangladesh has already taken many steps to improve its rail and road connectivity and setting up of higher diplomatic missions in northeast India. The untapped vast natural resources available in the northeastern region of India would be utilised for the welfare of the people of both India and Bangladesh.”

Stressing the need for Multi-Model Transport Connectivity, the Bangladeshi minister said that the natural resources of northeast India with their value addition can boost the economy of both sides.

The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Assocham) in association with the Tripura Industry Department organised the day long Investment Summit.

Amu in his written speech in Bengali said that there is enormous scope for setting up of many hydel-power projects in northeast India, and that this power could be exported to Bangladesh or other parts of India via Bangladesh.

“The Bangladesh government is also keen to set up joint venture hydel power plants with India,” he said, adding that all problems in increasing trade and business ties between India and Bangladesh must be removed.

“With 1,741 km of Bangladesh’s border with four of the eight northeastern states of India, the region due to its close proximity has huge scope for increasing trade, business and investment with Bangladesh,” the minister added.

“Bangladesh led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has become an industrialised nation, currently making from readymade garments to ships. With a stable political situation and available raw materials, Indian investors can easily set up industries in Bangladesh,” Amu said.

Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar, in his speech also stressed the need to increase trade and business with Bangladesh.

He thanked the Bangladesh government for allowing India to transport heavy machinery, foodgrains and other vital goods to Tripura from other parts of India via that country.

Tripura Industry Minister Tapan Chakraborty, Chief Secretary Yashpal Singh, Industries and Commerce Secretary M. Nagaraju and Assocham Chairman for the northeastern region Sanjay Jhunjhunwala among others spoke at the meet.

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