Bangladesh, Bhutan will sign transit deal by this year
Published : Friday, 22 March 2013
Bangladesh and Bhutan will sign transit deal by this year to boost bilateral trade and investment, a high trade official said Thursday.
"We strongly hope the transit deal with Bhutan will be possible by the end of the year (2013)," Commerce Secretary Mahbub Ahmed told the media after two days of commerce secretary- level meeting that ended on the day at the conference room of the ministry of commerce (MoC).
"We have had a fruitful meeting to increase our bilateral trade. We would be able to sign transit deal with Bangladesh by 2013," Secretary, Ministry of Economic Affairs of Bhutan Dasho Sonam Tshering echoed the same to the media on the issue.
The meeting that started on March 20 was led by Bangladesh Commerce Secretary Mahbub Ahmed while Secretary, Ministry of Economic Affairs of Bhutan Dasho Sonam Tshering on their respective sides also signed the agreed minutes of the meeting on the day.
It has also decided to form joint technical committees for feasibility studies on customs and transit routes. They will submit their reports to their respective governments within the next few months.
And following the committees' reports the ministry concerned of both the countries will take further steps for finalising the transit deal.
The meeting also decided that Bhutan will be allowed to use Nakugaon and Haluaghat land ports along with the existing Burimari and Tamabil land ports. Bhutan is interested to use Mongla and Chittagong seaports and airports in Bangladesh.
The two countries have also agreed to form sub-group with the officials of both countries' central bank having the tasks to deal with banking and financial matters for resolving problems on smooth import and export activities.
It also discussed the decision taken at the last commerce secretary level meeting, duty free/ preferential market access and trade facilitation issues, institutional mechanism to streamlining financial transaction/ trade payment for smooth flow of trade and duty free export of some products from both sides.
Bangladesh and Bhutan had signed a temporary transit deal in 1980, which expired in 2000. Bhutan has requested Bangladesh to renew the deal.
The last commerce secretary level meeting was held in Thimphu, Bhutan on June 14, 2012. The eight- member Bhutanese delegation arrived in the capital on March 18, 2013 for talks. They will leave the country today (Friday).
Mr Ahmed said the present draft transit has a total of 36 articles which was nine in the previous transit deal.
"Bangladesh will get revenue from Bhutan by allowing the country's road, rail, water and air routes," he said.
Replying to a question the Bhutanese secretary Mr Tshering said "Bhutan is ready to give transit fees to Bangladesh. We hope the fees would be competitive".
Responding to another query he said the landlocked Himalayan Kingdom is ready to supply power to Bangladesh.
He said the matter also involves India since the supplying of power from Bhutan to Bangladesh is required to cover the Indian Territory. And if power transmission lines were set up in the Indian territory on the basis of consensus between Bangladesh and India then there will be no problem on our part to provide electricity.
Editor : Moazzem Hossain,
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