Various measures are being looked into to address logistics challenges and reduce the turnaround time for seamless movement of cargo between India and Bangladesh, according to Indian textiles minister Smriti Irani, who recently told a webinar organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) that leveraging the inland waterway route will also be looked at.

The issues being faced in the movement of cargo through Petrapole and Benapole ports are also being investigated, she was quoted as saying by a news agency.

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,” she 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 a resolution on the proposed memorandum of understanding by both the 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.

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.