Nepal has sought withdrawal of Bangladesh’s restriction on yarn import through the Banglabandha land port in Bangladesh saying that the ban was causing financial losses to the Nepalese manufacturers of the product.
Bangladesh commerce ministry has also requested the National Board of Revenue to consider Nepal’s proposal to allow yarn export by the landlocked Himalayan nation through the port in Tetulia of Panchagarh.
Commerce ministry officials said Nepal had repeatedly been seeking permission for export of yarn, particularly acrylic yarn, to Bangladesh.
The issue was also discussed at the secretary-level talks between the two countries, they said.
Commerce secretary Shubhashish Bose sent a semi-official letter to the NBR in this connection, they added.
On various occasions, Reliance Spinning Mills Ltd, a Nepalese yarn manufacturer, requested Bangladesh foreign minister and Bangladesh ambassador to Nepal for taking necessary steps to relieve the restriction for them.
It argues that Nepal exports only acrylic yarn and it has no production of cotton yarn.
Bangladesh imposed the restriction of yarn import through land ports back in 2002 to safeguard the local cotton yarn industry from Indian export.
After few years, the NBR withdrew the ban for the Benapole land port but the ban remains in place for the Banglabandha land port.
Bilateral trade between Nepal and Bangladesh takes place through Banglabandha and Fulbari (Shiliguri of West Bengal in India) land ports.
In this context, the NBR on July 7 arranged a meeting with stakeholders at its conference room to examine the Nepalese proposal.
NBR officials said that most of the participants from both private and public sectors opined that the NBR should examine related issues very carefully before taking any positive decision.
Participants from the private sector were also against lifting the ban, they said.
At the meeting, the representative of Bangladesh Textile Mills Association expressed concern that there was a possibility of coming yarn from third country if the NBR permits import of the product through Banglabandha from Nepal.
There is also no laboratory for measuring the quality of yarn (yarn count) at Banglabandha, unlike Benapole land port, that may cause duty evasion through misdeclaration and providing false information about the rules of origin, he said.
The representative of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association said that they found no necessity of import of yarn from Nepal.
The representative of jute and textile ministry suggested examining some issues including the number of spinning mills and quantity of yarn export of Nepal and the possibility of exporting yarn of third country misusing the permission before taking any decision on the issue.
A foreign ministry official who attended the meeting said that though the issue had been discussed on many occasions at the diplomatic channel of the two countries, the NBR would have to take the decision considering the physical infrastructure, manpower and other facilities including laboratory at the port, and the interest of the country.
A senior NBR official told New Age that at the meeting stakeholders opined against withdrawal of the restriction.
So, the meeting decided to take written opinion from jute and textile ministry, foreign ministry, BTMA, BGMEA, Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association and Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry, he said, adding that the NBR would also seek directive from the finance minister.