The National Board of Revenue has updated the list of products eligible for import from neighbouring India through different land customs stations.
Customs wing of the NBR on July 17 issued a statutory regulatory order, adding a good number of products to the list.
Due to the update, businesses now will be able to import goods such as readymade garment items, clinker, and spare parts for motorcycle, fly ash, rice, spices and fruits through different land customs stations across the country.
There is no port restriction on the part of Bangladesh for export from the country. But Bangladeshi businesses cannot export all products through all ports as India has imposed some port restrictions for Indian businesses on import of different products from Bangladesh through its land customs stations.
Bangladesh has 184 land customs stations at borders with neighbouring countries — India, Nepal, Bhutan and Myanmar.
Most of the land customs stations are located at the border with India while there are also half a dozen land customs stations at the borders with Nepal, Bhutan and Myanmar for conducting trades with the countries. Trades between Nepal and Bhutan are conducted using Indian territories.
The lists of goods for import from Nepal, Bhutan and Myanmar have remained unchanged.
Officials said that the NBR revised the list based on demand from the local business community as well as request from the Indian authorities on various occasions including the meeting of joint customs group between the two countries.
Usually, the list of products is updated time to time, they said, adding that the list was updated last in 2015.
According to the SRO, the NBR, in addition to the previously listed products, allowed import of rice, RMG products, spare parts (tyre and others) for motorcycle, wielding rod and dry fish through the Sheola land customs station, soya bean extract, rape seed extract, maize, dry oil rice bran, rice and diesel through Birol (rail route), livestock through Tamabil, and sponge iron, pig iron and clinker through Darshana (rail route).
Import of fly ash, limestone, sandstone, road stone, dry fish, maize, rape seed extract, soya bean oil, soya bean extract, dry oil rice bran and deboiled cake could be imported through Rohanpur (rail route), rice and rubber sandal through Zakiganj and clinker import will be allowed through Narayanganj (steamer route).
The port restriction on import of fly ash, fresh and dry fruits, fresh vegetables, and various types of spices, imitation jewellery and some other products through the Bhomra land customs station has been withdrawn through the order.
The NBR also allowed import of CNG spare parts through the Bibirbazar land customs station in Comilla.
Traders will be able to import raw rubber, maize, stone boulder, soya bean seeds, bamboo products, Arjun flower, betel leaf and CNG spare parts through the Akhaura land customs station in Brahmanbaria.
The NBR also widened the list of importable products from India through the Banglabanda land customs station.
The NBR also withdrew restriction on import of goods which the country exports through various land customs stations.
Most of the land customs stations, however, have remained non-operational over the years as no incident of export and import is taking place through the land customs stations, officials said.
Currently only 34 land customs stations including 24 land ports under the Bangladesh Land Port Authority are active and the remaining land customs stations are inactive as most of the stations were opened under the persuasion of influential quarters, they said.
More than 80 per cent of the land border trade is conducted through the country’s largest land customs station, Benapole.
Many of those land customs stations were used only once or twice in their life time for import or export of products.