Indian high commissioner Harsh Vardhan Shringla on Saturday said that Bangladeshi exporters could export 21 food items, certified by Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution, to India.
These products, he said, would require no further testing as the Indian authorities started accepting the test certificates provided by the BSTI.
Bangladesh companies can also access the Indian market, especially in the northeastern ones, by exporting finished products and also by exploring investment opportunities, he said.
The high commissioner was addressing the inauguration of the two-day Bangladesh-India buyer-seller business meet at Hotel Sonargaon in Dhaka.
Indian Chamber of Commerce in association with Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry and India Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry jointly organised the meet on agriculture, horticulture and processed food.
Harsh Vardhan said that Bangladesh-India trade and commercial relationship was on an upward trajectory and the buyer-seller meet would result in generation of new opportunities for business communities of both the countries.
‘Products of Pran Group from Bangladesh, which has also invested in Tripura, are already doing very well in our northeastern states,’ he said.
There was a great potential for creating cross-border value chains in different sectors and there was already a great example of this on the Meghalaya-Bangladesh border where Lafarge Surma Cement imports limestone from Meghalaya using a cross-border conveyor belt for its cement plant close to the border in Bangladesh.
Citing the India visit of prime minister Sheikh Hasina in April, Harsh Vardhan said that 13 agreements worth an estimated $10 billion of mainly Indian investments in Bangladesh in the power, energy, logistics, medical and education sectors were signed during the visit.
Industries minister Amir Hossain Amu said that Bangladesh had a big market in the northestern region of India for products such as brick, cement, processed food, agro based products, toiletries, cosmetics, ceramics, melamine and light engineering products due to its geographical proximity and lower transportation cost.
There were huge untapped business potentials of Bangladeshi agricultural products including vegetables, spices and fruits in Indian markets, he said.
‘There is also a huge potential for processed food items in the local market,’ the minister said.
Urging Indian businesses to make investment in Bangladesh, Amu said that the possibilities of re-export to India could help bring down the trade gap as the balance of bilateral trade between the two countries had heavily tilted in favour of India.
FBCCI president Md Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin said that the buyer seller meet would facilitate not only exchange of products but also make way for successful business partnership and sharing of good practices.
He said that northestern region of India and West Bengal in particular to this day had enormous untapped prospects for Bangladesh when it would come to agro and agro processing business.
Mohiuddin hopped that trade in agriculture, horticulture and food processing would make way for investment in Bangladesh.
Former FBCCI president Abdul Matlub Ahmad urged Indian businesses to go for long-term investment in Bangladesh.
He said that Indian businessmen could set up cold storage in Bangladesh to preserve essential agricultural items such as onion as the prices of the products go up during Ramadan.
Rajeev Singh, director general of Indian Chamber of Commerce, said that 50 traders and companies of agricultural, horticultural and processed food items from different parts of India were participating in this event.
‘India is a large market and we do not want only to sell our products; we want to buy from Bangladesh,’ he said.
Want stories like this in your inbox?
Sign up to exclusive daily email
More Stories from Miscellany