Bangladesh gets duty-free access to Indian garment market

DHAKA, Sept 16, 2007 (AFP) – Bangladesh and India on Sunday signed a deal that will allow Dhaka to export eight million garments duty-free across the border, an agreement billed by New Delhi as a “milestone” in trade relations. “India is growing rapidly and its middle class is booming. So in the near future India can very well emerge as one of our important markets.” The deal will “address the existing trade imbalance between the two South Asian countries,” the two countries said in a joint statement.

“I think perhaps this is an important milestone in the trading relationship of the two countries,” India’s high commissioner to Bangladesh, Pinka Ranjan Chakravarty, said after the agreement was signed.

Bangladesh — which has a two-billion-dollar trade gap with India — exports more than nine billion dollars of textiles every year, mainly to the United States and the European Union.

The president of the Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association, Anwarul Alam Parvez, hailed the pact.

“Eight million pieces are a tiny amount compared to our annual garment exports. But it can go a long way in creating a huge market for Bangladeshi textiles in India,” he said.