India replaces China as top exporter to Bangladesh

Saturday, 28 June 2008, 05:02 Hrs
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Dhaka: India has regained its position as the number one import source for Bangladesh, beating China, in the first nine months of the financial year ending June 30, official figures said.

This is mainly due to large-scale imports of rice and onion from India after Bangladesh faced a series of natural calamities last year.

Besides, analysts said, India, as the current chair of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), has also gone out of its way to woo the least developed countries among the member-nations, of which Bangladesh is one.

China has been the number one import source for Bangladesh during 2005-06 and 2006-07.

"India is set to dominate the Bangladesh market as importers here are shifting from China," a senior commerce ministry official was quoted by the New Age newspaper as saying.

Bangladeshi importers find imports of essentials from the next-door neighbour convenient in many ways, he said.

Bangladesh Bank's figures showed the country imported Chinese goods worth $2,292.12 million during July-March of the current fiscal year, that ends this month-end.

The amount was 15 percent of the country's total imports during the period.

But imports from India figured $2,454.83 million or 16 percent of overall imports.

Bangladesh imported $14.64 billion in merchandises in the nine months between last July and March this year.

Food items, especially rice, onions and fresh fruits accounted for the bulk of imports from India.

Traders said surging inflation in India and China were pushing up prices of imports from these two Asian giants, which account for more than 30 percent of Bangladesh's imports.

Indian annual inflation rose to a 14-year high of 11.42 percent for the week ended June 14, while Chinese annual price inflation hit 7.7 percent in May, a 12-year high.

Bangladeshi imports from India amounted to $2,226 million in 2006-07 fiscal year, against $2,537 million-worth imports from China during the same period.

In 2005-06 fiscal, Bangladesh imported Indian goods worth $1,846.91 million while imports from China stood at $2,050.99 million. Once again, the two countries shared about 30 percent of Bangladesh's total annual imports that year.

Until the 2004-05 fiscal, India had been traditionally the biggest source of Bangladesh's imports, mainly foods and raw materials for many industries, including apparels.
Source: IANS
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