Giving a boost to the Centre's Digital India initiative, India and Bangladesh have established a new trade website that will not only digitise the entire trading process but also eliminate trade bottlenecks while increasing transparency, said senior government officials and industry leaders.
The new portal, which was unveiled by Bangladesh's Information and Broadcasting Minister Dr. Hasan Mahmud during an Indian Chamber of Commerce event, is expected to benefit both India and Bangladesh's commercial communities.
According to the Indian Chamber of Commerce, the trade site, which will include the exporter and importer databases for both North East (India) and Bangladesh, will facilitate B2B collaboration between buyers and sellers on both sides, as well as commercial contacts and negotiations.
The initiative is part of Bangladesh's outreach programme, which aims to increase people-to-people contact and communication in order to boost trade and business via canals, trains, and airways. The ceremony was also attended by Assam Industries and Commerce Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary.
Mahmud said during the launch that Chittagong Port which is in Bangladesh has a long history of association with Assam and the region dating all the way back to the British colonial era. “The century-old harbour has been rebuilt to accommodate larger cargo ships. Chittagong Port is closer to Guwahati than Kolkata's Haldia Port. This will not only save transportation costs but will also boost trade and business,” he explained.
Meanwhile, Assam industry minister Patowary urged Bangladesh Ministry authorities to extend essential help and collaboration in order to boost Assam's trade volume. “Bangladesh can leverage Assam's potential sectors, like ethanol, methanol, plastics, and hydrocarbons, to boost trade and business,” Patowary added.
Patowary said that trading via waterways has historical significance. “The Barak River used to transport vessels to this region from Chittagong and other ports in then-East Bengal. With the formulation of the Government of India's Act East Policy, the interrupted historic trade channels are being gradually restored and reconnected via the Chittagong and Mongla Ports,” Patowary said.