A his­toric agree­ment in­deed

Bhutan Times - - Editorial -

Bhutan and In­dia re­newed the trade, com­merce and tran­sit agree­ment yes­ter­day in Thim­phu. The last agree­ment was signed in New Delhi in July 2006 and had re­mained in force for ten years. The agree­ment had let to the ex­pan­sion of the bi­lat­eral trade and col­lab­o­ra­tion in eco­nomic devel­op­ment of the two coun­tries.

One of the main ar­ti­cles of the agree­ment is the free trade and com­merce be­tween the ter­ri­to­ries of the Royal Gov­ern­ment of Bhutan and the Gov­ern­ment of Repub­lic of In­dia. Fur­ther the trade agree­ment also al­lows Bhutan to im­pose such non – tar­iff re­stric­tions on the en­try into Bhutan of cer­tain goods of In­dian ori­gin as may be nec­es­sary for the pro­tec­tion of in­dus­tries in Bhutan.

How­ever such re­stric­tions will not stricter than those ap­plied to goods of third country ori­gin.

Fur­ther it also states that the gov­ern­ments of the two coun­tries may im­pose such non tar­iff re­stric­tions on en­try into their re­spec­tive ter­ri­to­ries of goods of their country ori­gin as may be nec­es­sary.

The agree­ment also gives the flex­i­bil­ity for both the gov­ern­ment of In­dia and Bhutan to agree to en­ter into im­me­di­ate con­sul­ta­tions with each other at the re­quest of ei­ther side in or­der to over­come such dif­fi­cul­ties as may arise in the im­ple­men­ta­tion of this agree­ment sat­is­fac­tory and speed­ily.

One of the most im­por­tant clauses in the agree­ment is that all ex­ports and im­ports of Bhutan to and from third coun­tries other than In­dia will be free from and not sub­ject to cus­toms du­ties and trade re­stric­tions of the Gov­ern­ment of In­dia, which is ut­most im­por­tance for a land locked county.

In­dia-Bhutan trade in 2015 was recorded at Rs 85.54 bil­lion, which ac­counts for 83 per­cent of Bhutan’s to­tal trade. In­dia was the largest and most im­por­tant trad­ing part­ner of Bhutan.

The agree­ment also ex­pects to fur­ther strengthen the ex­cel­lent re­la­tions be­tween the two coun­tries and en­hance peo­ple-to-peo­ple con­tact.

Bhutan-In­dia Free Trade Agree­ment is con­sid­ered one of the most lib­eral trad­ing agree­ments in the re­gion that is mu­tu­ally ben­e­fi­cial to both the coun­tries.

While con­tin­u­ing to pro­vide a plat­form for free and friendly trade be­tween our two coun­tries, the re­newed agree­ment pro­vides even more fa­cil­i­ties and sup­port for tran­sit of Bhutanese goods to and from third coun­tries. This is es­pe­cially im­por­tance for our land­locked country. In ad­di­tion, In­dia has agreed to ex­empt Bhutan from any ex­port ban of es­sen­tial food items like rice, sugar and cook­ing oil.

The agree­ment rat­i­fied by the Par­lia­ment this ses­sion will be­come a law of the land and once law it will be truly be a his­toric trade agree­ment. We must thank the gov­ern­ment and peo­ple of In­dia for their kind ges­ture and we look for­ward for their sup­port in fu­ture.

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