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DHAKA-YANGON TRADE DEAL PROVES UNSUCCESSFUL AS SMUGGLING RISING

Dhaka, 26 January 02: The border trade agreement signed between Bangladesh and Myanmar in 1994 has not far been unsuccessful and the blame partly goes to rising smuggling.
The business community in Bangladesh feels that a better approach is needed to overcome the problem as trade gap between the neighbouring countries rose to Taka 167 crore in last four years because import from Bangladesh continues to decline.
As per the agreement, both the countries could export or import goods wroth 5,000 dollars at a time without opening and Letter of Credit(LC).
The agreement said Bangladesh could import onion, turmeric, ginger, chilli, shrimp, sea-fish, various spices, pulse and pickle produced in Myanmar, and export to that country goods like melamine, cosmetic, lifesaving drugs and clothes.
As Myanmar recently increased border trade with Bangladesh following deterioration of its relation with Thailand, the coalition government of BNP has called for raising the export-import volume without LC to 15000 US dollars from 5,000 dollars.
According to competent sources, a section of businessmen in connivance with a section of BDR and customs officials are illegally importing huge Chinese, Thai and Malaysia goods through the Bangladesh-Myanmar border undercover of import from Myanmar, creating problems for the country's genuine importers.
A source at Chittagong Chamber of Commerce and Industry said the Bangladesh business community could not be benefited with border trade agreement as it restricts import other than agricultural products and sea fish from Myanmar.
He said limestone and bamboo are found plenty in frontier Akyab(Sittwe) and Maungdaw areas of Myanmar and it's more profitable to use those in Bangladesh rather than Myanmar because of Bangladesh's geographical location. Bangladesh can use those raw materials by setting up pulp and cement industries here, he said.
He apprehended that the trade relations between Myanmar and Bangladesh might suffer a setback due to forgery and fraudulence by some Bangladeshi businessmen.
He said there are some businessmen in Bangladesh who cancel contracts with their Myanmar counterparts after receiving goods from them without making any payment.
Bangladesh consult in Myanmar M Emdadul Islam in a recent letter brought the matter  to the notice of the government and said it this trend could not be checked Myanmar might rescind the border trade agreement.#

Source: Daily star