Export: Gypsum export to Bangladesh has declined substantially after a five percent duty was levied on the mineral in July this year.

Figures RSA private limited in Phuentsholing shared reveal drastic drop in the last two months.

RSA exported gypsum worth USD 12,049.57 in August this year from USD 24,781.77 in July. In January this year, RSA had recorded export worth USD 111,952.50.

RSA is the principal company that exports gypsum to Bangladesh. There are about four manufacturers in the country that route their gypsum to Bangladesh through RSA.

According to the bilateral trade agreement signed between the two countries, gypsum is one of the 18 products from Bhutan that is exempted from paying tax in Bangladesh.

However, the new tariff schedule the government of Bangladesh published for 2015-2016 specified that only importers registered as supplier for agricultural products were exempted from this tax.

All other establishments that imported gypsum from Bhutan for other purposes were levied a five percent tax. Since the gypsum exported from the country is not used as fertiliser, the number of importers has decreased in Bangladesh disrupting demand and supply.

Gypsum from Bhutan is imported mostly by cement manufacturing companies in Bangladesh.

The general secretary with Bhutan Exporters Association (BEA) Tshering Yeshi said the harmonised system code notified by Bangladesh in July contradicted with the existing code as per the bilateral trade agreement.

“We discussed this issue during the joint sitting customs commission meeting in July,” he said adding that the representatives from Bangladesh had expressed to look into the matter immediately.

However, it has been learnt that there has been no development to date. The bilateral trade agreement between the two countries allows 90 products from Bangladesh free of tax, while 18 products from Bhutan is duty free in Bangladesh.

Bhutan exported goods worth Nu 1.66 billion to Bangladesh in 2014, and imported goods worth Nu 169.56 million.

By Rajesh Rai, Phuentsholing