Irani said leveraging the inland waterway route will also be looked at for seamless movement of cargo between the two neighbours.
“We are actively looking at addressing logistics challenges which emanate at our borders to facilitate quicker turnaround time for both the industries in India and Bangladesh,” said the minister at a CII webinar. The issues being faced in the movement of cargo through Petrapole and Benapole ports are also being investigated, she said.
Irani said imposition of zero duty on exports of ethnic apparel from India to Bangladesh would help increase trade.
“The Indian industry can rejoice if Bangladesh allows retail of ethnic apparel from India at zero duties,” the minister said.
Irani stressed that India should focus on increasing yarn and fabric exports to Bangladesh. “Both sides are aware that when we compare our share of imports in Bangladesh with China, while China stands at 54 per cent, we stand at only 17 per cent given the high tariff on Indian textiles and apparel export products,” the textiles minister said.
The minister said she was hopeful that the dialogue to be undertaken for coming to a resolution on the proposed MoU by both countries can reflect on these challenges. The Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) which at present is holding surplus stocks of cotton, is working out the modalities for exporting to Bangladesh, which will help serve the requirements of its spinning industry.
“I am sure the needs of the spinning industry of Bangladesh can be met by the Cotton Corporation of India,” Irani said. The minister observed that India can also learn from the Bangladesh’s experience with diversified jute products and partner with the country to capture a share in global value chain of silk as well.
Textiles Secretary Ravi Capoor stressed on the need for developing regional value chains, with India supplying raw materials and Bangladesh exporting value added goods like fabric and apparel clothing to the world. There was, however, a need for removing the irritants to trade from both sides before this could fructify.
“We would request the Bangladesh side to consider removing the duties on our raw materials,” Capoor said.
Highlighting the opportunity for India and Bangladesh as immediate neighbours to create a huge supply chain for the entire globe in the apparel and textiles sector, Capoor said both countries together “can aspire to replace China as 35 per cent of the global market supplier”.
“Together our vision should be to capture 35 per cent of the global market in the next five years,” he added. Golam Dastagir Gazi, Minister of Textiles and Jute, Bangladesh, emphasised that there is a huge potential for further collaboration between Bangladesh and India in the textile and apparel industry, with opportunities for both countries.