New prospects for Bhutan-Bangladesh trade

India allows Bangladesh to tranship goods to Bhutan via India

Commerce: The recent signing of a revised trade agreement between India and Bangladesh is expected to increase trade volume between Bangladesh and Bhutan.  The agreement allows Bangladesh to transship goods to Bhutan using Indian roads, water and railways.

Bangladesh, the country’s second largest trading partner after India, is the only country in the region with which Bhutan enjoys surplus of trade.  Bhutan has been officially trading with Bangladesh since 1980.

Bangladesh ambassador to Bhutan, Jishnu Roy Choudhari, said the agreement removed a long-standing trade barrier for Bangladesh, when it came to exporting goods to Bhutan.  Until the recent signing of the trade agreement, trucks from Bangladesh  are not allowed to carry goods to Bhutan via India.

Ambassador Jishnu Roy Choudhury said that trade between Bhutan and Bangladesh would become easier, and that Bangladesh goods would be much cheaper in the Bhutanese market.

The agreement also allows trucks from Bhutan to enter Bangladesh through Indian corridors to deliver goods without having to return from the Indo-Bangladesh border Burimari, 117km from Phuentsholing.

These, he said, are some of the hindrances to trade between the two economies. “With the new agreement, the volume of trade between Bhutan and Bangladesh will definitely increase,” he said.

Under the revised trade agreement, India is also allowed to use Bangladesh land, railways and water to transship goods to Myanmar.  If either of the parties does not object, the agreement will be automatically renewed every five years.

General secretary of the Exporters’ Association of Bhutan, Tshering Yeshey, said the inability of Bangladesh trucks to carry goods to Bhutan via India has resulted in high transportation costs. “Transportation cost can be reduced because, so far, our trucks have to travel twice for one consignment,” he said.

He also said that trade between Bhutan and Bangladesh would be much faster and easier, if Bangladesh trucks could drop consignments to Bhutan.

He said about 150 loaded trucks ply to Bangladesh everyday during apple and orange seasons.  In other seasons, about 30 to 40 trucks ply to Bangladesh.

The ambassador said the agreement would be implemented as soon as possible. “Once the fees and charges for the use of each other’s land, railways and water between India and Bangladesh are agreed upon, the agreement will be implemented,” he said.

The ambassador said that the agreement made it easy for Bhutan to import more goods from Bangladesh, such as furniture and jute products. “Bhutan is a small market, but it needs everything,” he said.

The revised agreement comes after the renewal of the preferential trade agreement between Bhutan and Bangladesh in December last year during Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay’s visit to Bangladesh.  During the meeting, it was agreed that duty free trade between the countries would be extended on 18 more products, from the existing 72.

The ambassador also said that the agreement would facilitate the free flow of goods in the sub-region involving India, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal. “The agreement will bring a change in the whole sub-region in terms of trade,” he said.

With the revised agreement, other goods that Bangladesh could export to Bhutan according to the ambassador are dry fish and more varieties of pharmaceutical products.  Among others, imports from Bangladesh include readymade garments, toiletries, fruit juices, pharmaceutical and cosmetics.  Some of the exports to Bangladesh are oranges, apples, gypsum and dolomite.

In 2012, Bhutan exported goods to Bangladesh worth Nu 1.17 billion, while the former’s import from the later stood at Nu 281 million only.  However, the dynamics of the bilateral trade is expected to change once the new trade deal is implemented.  In 2013, the share of exports to Bangladesh increased to seven percent from four percent in 2012.

By MB Subba

5 replies
    MIGNIEN says:

    I apologize but I have not given my references about sea ports of INDIA Which are 9 : the lagest are JAWAHARAL NEHRU (west coast ) and CHENNAI (east coast ) . .

    I have a map of the major ports of INDIA published by the Ministry of sea transport ( Minitère du transport maritime )

    I try , whith thoses informations , to enhace the debate .

    MIGNIEN says:

    I tried to send my comment four times !!!!


    Producers need to treat their produces against rot ; because transportation last for 4 or 5 days to BGD . And they must calibrate them before expedition . So they can have a good benefit from the buyers .

    All this above is written in the intersts of the country I love so much called Kingdom of Bhutan .

    MIGNIEN says:

    It was a great pity that the government did not accept the offer of india to built a train line between the two countries .I am sure INDIA would have supported a great part of investment .
    This would have economize fuel coasts of transportation to BGD . And would give an access to the nearest deep sea water port like Kolkata : one of the major port of India east cost after Chenmai ( this port is composed of Kolkata Dock System and Haldia Dock Complex ) ; It would permit to have a Bhutan free port
    opened all long the year .

    MIGNIEN says:

    Fruit juices : Bhutan produce very good fruit juices ; but not the same than Bangladesh :possibility of unfair competition of trading . I think to the poor bhutanese paesant whom living way is production of fruits .


    MIGNIEN says:

    PART I
    Just some points to pay attention with those exchanges beteween the two countries . I a happy for these trade agrements
    Bangladesh exports in Bhutan dry fisch from the sea ; but Bhutan has a tiny industry of pisciculture which is in process to progress . Competition in the futur ?
    Pharmacetics products must be deep controlled : Bhutan needed to have a spectographic laboratory . We know in France that those produces are sometimes dangerous for health .
    Why some garnements toiletries are not made in Bhutan ?

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