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New Delhi seeks duty-free sugar export facility to Dhaka

New Delhi seeks duty-free sugar export facility to Dhaka

Dhaka : Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed told journalists after a meeting with the visiting Indian Food and Public Distribution Secretary Ravikant at his secretariat office

Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed yesterday said India wants duty free market access facility for sugar in Bangladesh market under the South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) agreement.

The minister told journalists after a meeting with the visiting Indian Food and Public Distribution Secretary Ravikant at his secretariat office.

“As a least developed country, we enjoy duty and quota free market access in India under the SAFTA pact . As a result, Bangladesh export to India increased in recent years,” said Tofail Ahmed.

To protect the local industry, sugar is now in the negative list of SAFTA agreement, and the import of sugar from countries including India in Bangladesh is subject to 40% tariffs. Now, India urged Bangladesh to bring the sugar in the positive list so that duty elimination on the sweetener takes place, said Ahmed.

According to Ministry of Commerce , Bangladesh’s annual demands of sugar is 16 lakh tonnes, of which state owned sugar Mills produces only 80,000 tonnes and the rest is met by the import by private sector.

Private sector import mostly raw sugar from different countries including India and supply it to the local market after refining.

“Considering the interest of consumers, we are considering the Indian request,” said the minister.

The Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) and the State Trading Corporation (STC) of India will sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on November 2 in this regard, said Ahmed.

Meanwhile, India has urged the Bangladeshi edible oil exporters to ensure 30% value addition to continue getting duty free market access of cooking oil to its market.

According to Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) data, Bangladesh export to India stood at $873 million in the last fiscal year, against its import worth $8.61 billion from the neighboring country.