Close on heels of India’s reported move to introduce stringent provisions related to rules of origin and empower customs officials to check and administer the same (under preferential trade agreement), has led to many garment exporters in Bangladesh expressing apprehension that it might act as new non-tariff barrier to the latter’s exports to India.
According to media reports, many apparel exporters believe that goods from Bangladesh already have to encounter a host of non-tariff barriers and the new move would only add to that and act as a stumbling block to apparel exports from Bangladesh at a time when overall exports from Bangladesh have crossed the US $ 1 billion mark and garment exports have gained momentum.
According to reports in Indian media, the Commerce and Industry Ministry wants that shipments coming in from ASEAN bloc, South Korea, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka be checked thoroughly amidst apprehensions that increasing Chinese imports are making their way through these nations.
Commenting on this, the ex-President of Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA), Fazlul Haque, reportedly told media such a move by India could discourage importers to import goods from Bangladesh, which could hit Bangladesh’s apparel exports to the latter.
Agreeing to Fazlul on this, Anwar-Ul-Alam Chowdhury Parvez, the President of Bangladesh Chamber of Industries, reportedly maintained that it would create a sense of uncertainty amongst importers, who would now be discouraged to get goods from Bangladesh. He wants the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and the Commerce Ministry to take up the matter with India.
It may be mentioned here that currently goods from Bangladesh excepting 25 items related to liquor and tobacco enjoy duty-free benefit in India as a least developed nation under the South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA), the free trade arrangement of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).