Bangladesh and India will sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with an intent to resolve disputes related to anti-dumping duty, countervailing duty and safeguard measures through consultations.
The Bangladesh Trade and Tariff Commission and India's Directorate General of Trade Remedies (DGTR) will ink the MoU on establishment of an experts group on trade remedy measures to promote cooperation in areas of mutual interest during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's next visit to Bangladesh, marking the country's golden jubilee celebrations, Shahidul Islam, additional secretary (FTA) to the commerce ministry, told The Business Standard.
Under the agreement, an experts group comprising representatives from both the Bangladesh Trade and Tariff Commission and the DGTR will be formed, which will act in line with various provisions of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and related domestic laws in the areas of anti-dumping, countervailing duty and safeguard measures. The group will hold discussions before taking steps by any of the countries, he added.
Dr Mostafa Abid Khan, member of the Bangladesh Trade and Tariff Commission, said the MoU will have a positive role in settling trade disputes between the two countries.
Both countries will try to resolve issues with respect to the withdrawal of anti-dumping duty imposed by the Indian government on various Bangladeshi goods under the agreement, he said.
Besides, the Indian government will notify Bangladesh before imposing any of these on any products of Bangladesh. Under the agreement, Bangladeshi officials will also imparted training, Dr Mostafa pointed out.
Commerce ministry officials said there are various tariffs and non-tariff barriers for Bangladesh to export goods to India. These issues are being discussed at the commerce secretary level meetings but no solution has come yet.
India has imposed anti-dumping duties on imports of various Bangladeshi products such as jute products, hydrogen peroxide and fishing nets. Besides, violating the Safta agreement, India has enforced new customs rules by stopping imports of palm oil and soybeans from Bangladesh.
If a country imposes anti-dumping duty and countervailing duty on imports of products from another country, and hampers the latter's exports, there is an opportunity to complain to the WTO.
India imposed anti-dumping duty on battery imports from Bangladesh in 2004, but it withdrew the duty after Bangladesh lodged a complaint with the WTO.
According to the commerce ministry, the Indian government imposed anti-dumping duty ranging between $19 and $351.71 per tonne on all jute companies in Bangladesh in 2017. India has also taken an initiative to countervail imports of jute goods from Bangladesh, alleging that the latter is subsidising its exports of such products.
In April 2017, India imposed anti-dumping duties ranging between $27.81 and $91.47 per tonnes on hydrogen peroxide imports on hydrogen peroxide exports from Bangladesh and $2.69 per kg on fishing net imports the following year.
Meanwhile, the two prime ministers will inaugurate three new border haats in Sunamganj and Sylhet during Narendra Modi's visit, Shahidul Islam said.
In July 2011, the then commerce ministers of the two countries inaugurated the first border haat in Rajibpur upazila of Kurigram and Kalaichar in the Indian state of Meghalaya.
The two countries later launched three more border haats. However, the existing four border haats have now remained closed amid the pandemic.