Mumbai: After India banned its onion export to Bangladesh, the neighbouring country urged India to lift the ban at the earliest as prices of the commodity have skyrocketed there due to drop in supply.
Addressing the India-Bangladesh stakeholders meeting, Bangladesh’s Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi requested the Indian government to take a humanitarian view of the issue as people are affected by high prices of produce.
“We have a shortage of six lakh tonnes of onions. 80% of this comes from India. Prices have gone up significantly after the ban on onion exports from India and people are asking when it will come down,” he said.
Bangladesh’s Commerce Minister said that most of the neighbouring countries of South Asia depend on India for food security and import essential commodities from here.
“We understand that the Indian authority is well aware of this and always analyzes it from a human point of view. We are eagerly awaiting the withdrawal of the export ban recently imposed on onions.
“I spoke to Indian Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal. He said that India will try to lift the ban after the Maharashtra elections. We are waiting for it,” he said.
Bangladesh is yet to fully utilize duty-free market access for most products under SAFTA and for this, the application of non-tariff barriers such as testing of product quality, presence of para tariffs, post-ban and trade remedial measures Needs to be resolved soon.
“We strongly believe that proactive action will help expand our bilateral trade with India, especially with North East India. Regulatory barriers are now serious concerns for all of us.
“Despite the high level of political commitment, we are far behind in removing regulatory hurdles,” said Munshi.
In many cases, these have been increasing over time, due to unpredictable and non-transparent regulatory barriers, leading to trade facilitation in regions.
He said, “Although many projects have been initiated and many agreements signed for the facilities for the construction and upgrading of roads under the South Asia Sub-Regional Economic Cooperation, we are yet to take full advantage of these initiatives,” he said.
Munshi said that both Bangladesh and North East India can be benefitted from better physical contact and people-to-people contact.
Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, while addressing an India-Bangladesh Business Forum meeting in Delhi on 4 October, expressed difficulties about her country’s post-export ban by saying that she wanted her cook to eat told not to use onions.
(With PTI Inputs)