In­dia-Bangladesh Work­ing on Dis­man­tling Non-tar­iff Bar­ri­ers and Para-tar­iff Bar­ri­ers

FICCI Business Digest - - Contents -

Re­cently, Bangladesh has be­come el­i­gi­ble for grad­u­a­tion from 'Least De­vel­oped Coun­try' cat­e­gory. In­ter­est­ingly, it is one of the first LDCs to grad­u­ate on the ba­sis of all the three cri­te­ria: GNI per capita, Hu­man As­sets In­dex and Eco­nomic Vul­ner­a­bil­ity In­dex. Fu­elled by im­pres­sive so­cio-eco­nomic in­di­ca­tors such as in­fant mor­tal­ity, life ex­pectancy, health and ed­u­ca­tion, lower vul­ner­a­bil­ity and an eco­nomic boom, Bangladesh is ex­pected to leave the LDC cat­e­gory by 2024 and would be en­ter­ing into the cat­e­gory of a 'de­vel­op­ing' coun­try.

Bangladesh's grad­u­a­tion from the LDC cat­e­gory is an im­por­tant part of the ef­fort to achieve the 2030 agenda for sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment. While there would be some sig­nif­i­cant im­pli­ca­tions on the do­mes­tic front, what would Bangladesh's grad­u­a­tion process im­ply for In­dia? How will the bi­lat­eral eco­nomic re­la­tions between In­dia and Bangladesh be im­pacted with the new sta­tus of the lat­ter coun­try set­ting in?

In this con­text, a joint pol­icy di­a­logue was or­ga­nized to ex­plore new di­men­sions of part­ner­ship between In­dia and Bangladesh. The eco­nomic growth, the wel­fare of farm­ers, em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties for youth, ac­cess to cap­i­tal, tech­nol­ogy, mar­kets and re­sources are in­ex­tri­ca­bly linked. Hence, a thriv­ing well-con­nected and in­te­grated neigh­bour­hood is an in­dis­pens­able re­quire­ment, as is greater un­der­stand­ing of each other's crit­i­cal role in all-round de­vel­op­ment.

While ad­dress­ing the sem­i­nar 'Bangladesh's Grad­u­a­tion from LDC: New Fron­tiers and Hori­zons for In­dia-Bangladesh Eco­nomic En­gage­ment' jointly or­ga­nized by FICCI and the Bangladesh High Com­mis­sion in New Delhi on 20 June 2018, Syed Muazzem Ali, High Com­mis­sioner of Bangladesh, said that In­dia and Bangladesh are work­ing on dis­man­tling the non­tar­iff and para-tar­iff bar­ri­ers.

Bangladesh has re­cently grad­u­ated from 'Least De­vel­op­ment Cat­e­gory' of the United Na­tions Com­mit­tee for De­vel­op­ment Pol­icy. 'We seek sub­stan­tial in­vest­ment from In­dian in­vestors in three spe­cial eco­nomic zones of Mongla, Bhera­mara and Mir­sarai in Bangladesh to broaden our ex­portable base,' he added, 'we could en­gage in a se­ries of “buy-back” projects sim­i­lar to those between USA and Canada.'

The el­i­gi­bil­ity of a coun­try for grad­u­a­tion is mea­sured by UN on at­tain­ment of thresh­old value of three cri­te­rias and Bangladesh achieved all three tar­gets con­vinc­ingly. While, the GNI per capita thresh­old was $1,230 or above, Bangladesh's GNI per capita was $1,610 at the end of Fi­nan­cial Year 2016-17. The HAI tar­get was 66 or above, and Bangladesh's score is 72.8. The EVI tar­get was 32 or be­low and Bangladesh scored 24.8. So, on all three ac­counts, Bangladesh suc­cess­fully crossed the bench­marks.

The High Com­mis­sioner said Bangladesh, how­ever, will have to main­tain the thresh­olds for at least two in­dices till the coun­try's fi­nal grad­u­a­tion from the LDC cat­e­gory in 2024. In the mean­time, the CDP will re­view the coun­try's sta­tus again in 2021 and fi­nally in 2024, for com­plet­ing the process of grad­u­a­tion. The chal­lenge now is to main­tain the cur­rent rate of progress.

The High Com­mis­sioner said that con­nec­tiv­ity of­fers a game-chang­ing op­por­tu­nity for In­dia and Bangladesh which would bring about un­prece­dented ben­e­fit for us as well as for the re­gion. The two coun­tries are work­ing to re­store road, rail, and coastal ship­ping links that had ex­isted in the pre-par­ti­tion pe­riod. At the same time, new land ports and bet­ter in­fra­struc­ture are built to fa­cil­i­tate greater trade.

Ali said, 'In ad­di­tion to var­i­ous bi­lat­eral ini­tia­tives, we need to has­ten the sub-re­gional co­op­er­a­tion on en­ergy sec­tor. A tri­lat­eral in­vest­ment of 1125 MW hy­dro-power project in Bhutan, by Bangladesh, In­dia and Bhutan is also un­der dis­cus­sion. I think, we need to fur­ther strengthen our ex­ist­ing sub­re­gional and re­gional plat­forms like BBIN, SAARC, BIMSTEC etc. Sign­ing of the SAARC Frame­work Agree­ment for En­ergy Co­op­er­a­tion (Elec­tric­ity) is ex­pected to cre­ate a re­gional mar­ket for power trade. We can ex­pe­dite sim­i­lar co­op­er­a­tion frame­work un­der the aegis of BIMSTEC. In our ca­pac­ity as a found­ing mem­ber of both SAARC and BIMSTEC, we are ready to co­op­er­ate in all the es­sen­tial en­ergy re­lated projects of these or­ga­ni­za­tions.'

Md. Abul Kalam Azad, Prin­ci­pal Co­or­di­na­tor (SDG Af­fairs), Prime Min­is­ter's Of­fice, Bangladesh, said that way for­ward for Bangladesh would be to in­crease in­vest­ment in hu­man de­vel­op­ment, over­come in­fra­struc­ture gap, in­vest in qual­ity ed­u­ca­tion and re­search, adopt in­no­va­tion and dig­i­tal­iza­tion, en­hance north-south, south-south, tri­an­gu­lar co­op­er­a­tion and di­ver­sify ex­port.

Sheikh Fa­zle Fahim, Se­nior Vice Pres­i­dent, Fed­er­a­tion of Bangladesh Cham­bers of Com­merce and In­dus­try, said, 'To make suc­cess­ful tran­si­tion Bangladesh needs to ex­plore strate­gic joint ven­ture in­vest­ments in high-value sec­tors, fo­cus on in­no­va­tion and re­search, blue econ­omy and mul­ti­modal con­nec­tiv­ity.’

Ram Upen­dra Das, Head & Pro­fes­sor, Cen­tre for Re­gional Trade, Depart­ment of Com­merce, Govern­ment of In­dia, said, South Asian eco­nomic in­te­gra­tion has not moved at the pace it could have. It is high time we adopt an in­te­grated ap­proach to trade in goods, ser­vices, and in­vest­ments so as not to miss out on the syn­er­gies between the three.’ Pri­tam Ban­er­jee, Se­nior Di­rec­tor, South Asia Cor­po­rate Pub­lic Pol­icy, DHL Group said that chal­lenges in the east­ern part of In­dia are not much dif­fer­ent from those in Bangladesh. It is in the in­ter­est of both the na­tions to work on im­prov­ing con­nec­tiv­ity.

Qazi Kholiquz­za­man Ah­mad, Chair­man, Palli Karma-Sa­hayak Foun­da­tion (PKSF), Bangladesh, said,

‘In­dia and Bangladesh should in­crease co­op­er­a­tion in re­search, com­pre­hen­sively work on in­clu­sive de­vel­op­ment and cli­mate change while work­ing on en­sur­ing peace in the re­gion.’

Man­ish Sing­hal, Deputy Sec­re­tary Gen­eral, FICCI, said this first-of-its kind pol­icy di­a­logue on In­di­aBangladesh is sig­nif­i­cant con­sid­er­ing that Bangladesh has re­cently be­come el­i­gi­ble for grad­u­a­tion from LDC. It is a proud mo­ment for our neigh­bour that just be­fore its 47th an­niver­sary of In­de­pen­dence, UN de­clared its grad­u­a­tion from LDC sta­tus to a de­vel­op­ing coun­try.

He said that a thriv­ing well­con­nected and an in­te­grated neigh­bour­hood is in­dis­pens­able for eco­nomic growth. 'The clas­si­fi­ca­tion of Bangladesh as a de­vel­op­ing coun­try would cer­tainly leapfrog the ex­ist­ing bi­lat­eral en­gage­ment between In­dia and Bangladesh,' he added.

In his Vote of Thanks, the Deputy High Com­mis­sioner from the Bangladesh High Com­mis­sion, Roke­bul Haque, con­grat­u­lated FICCI for suc­cess­ful con­duct of the ini­tia­tive and em­pha­sized on en­hanc­ing Bangladesh High Com­mis­sion’s greater en­gage­ment with the apex in­dus­try cham­ber to re­in­force bi­lat­eral eco­nomic en­gage­ment between In­dia and Bangladesh. n

Syed Muazzem Ali, High Com­mis­sioner of Bangladesh, ad­dress­ing the sem­i­nar.

L to R: Dr. Pri­tam Ban­er­jee, Se­nior Di­rec­tor – South Asia Cor­po­rate Pub­lic Pol­icy, DHL Group, In­dia; Md. Abul Kalam Azad, Prin­ci­pal Co-or­di­na­tor (SDG Af­fairs), Prime Min­is­ter's Of­fice, Govern­ment of Bangladesh; Man­ish Sing­hal, DSG, FICCI; Syed Muazzem Ali, High Com­mis­sioner of Bangladesh; Dr. Qazi Kholiquz­za­man Ah­mad, Chair­man, Palli Kar­maSa­hayak Foun­da­tion (PKSF), Bangladesh; Sheikh Fa­zle Fahim, Se­nior Vice Pres­i­dent, Fed­er­a­tion of Bangladesh Cham­bers of Com­merce and In­dus­try and Roke­bul Haque, Deputy High Com­mis­sioner of Bangladesh.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.