Bangladesh permitted India to use Mongla and Chattogram ports for transit and trans-shipment cargo vessels.
The National Board of Revenue in Bangladesh issued a permanent standing order. The order stated that the National Board of Revenue issued the permanent transit order after trial runs were completed for operationalization and the regular movement of goods.
The decision will reduce the cost and time for transporting goods to West Bengal and the northeastern states of India. It will also promote regional connectivity in the Bay of Bengal Sea area.
The ports in Bangladesh, the National Board of Revenue in Bangladesh, customs, and taxation parties involved shall draw charges in line with the country’s VAT and tax laws.
The order said that this shall include fees for documentation, trans-shipment, scanning, an electric lock, security, administrative charges, seal fee, and toll fees for using Bangladeshi roads.
Chattogram Port is situated in the southeastern region of Bangladesh. It is the country’s primary seaport and is located by the Karnaphuli River. The port manages about 90 per cent of the export-import trade of Bangladesh.
Mongla Port is the 2nd largest seaport in Bangladesh. The port is situated near the coastline of the Bay of Bengal.
In the past, India faced time and cost-related challenges while transporting goods to its northeastern states. But now, officials from both countries revealed that this new decision would allow India access to the Mongla and Chattogram ports and will address these challenges. It will result in reduced transportation costs and time.
This decision came after bilateral meetings between the two nations. According to a report by ORF, by using the Mongla port, India may also establish better connectivity between several states with other parts of the country by avoiding the Siliguri Corridor (Chicken’s Neck of India).
So, eight routes were identified to connect the Northeastern region of India through the seaports of Bangladesh. This shall include Mongla or Chattogram Port to Agartala in India through Akhaura in Bangladesh; Mongla or Chattogram Port to Dawki in India through Tamabil in Bangladesh; Mongla or Chattogram Port to Sutarkandi in India through Sheola in India; and Mongla or Chattogram Port to Srimantpur in India through Bibir Bazar in India.
In December 2022, India and Bangladesh agreed to start negotiations for a free trade agreement to boost commerce and investments.
The decision occurred in a meeting between Minister of Commerce (Bangladesh) Tipu Munshi and Indian Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal.
A joint feasibility study on the agreement was carried out after the two countries agreed to explore the possibility of negotiating a trade pact.
In an official statement, the Commerce Ministry said that the study confirmed the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement would give a sound basis for substantial trade enhancement and a commercial partnership between the two countries.
The bilateral trade between Bangladesh and India increased to $ 18.2 billion from 2021 to 2022, as against $ 10.8 billion from 2020 to 2021.
Also, both sides agreed that the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement would raise living standards, create new job opportunities, and provide greater social and economic opportunities in Bangladesh and India.
Bangladesh is the largest trade partner of India in South Asia.
About Mongla and Chattogram ports
The Port of Mongla is a seaport situated at Mongla Upazila in Khulna Division in Bangladesh. It is the 2nd biggest and 2nd busiest seaport in Bangladesh.
The Chittagong Port is the principal seaport of Bangladesh. The port is located in the port city of Bangladesh, Chittagong. The port is 1 of the oldest ports in the world, and it is the busiest container port in the Bay of Bengal.