The cabinet has approved a proposed agreement with India enabling the neighbouring country to use Chattogram
and Mongla ports for goods movement to and from India.
The approval came from the weekly cabinet meeting with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair on Monday, Cabinet Secretary Md. Shafiul Alam said.
He said: "The agreement would allow India to use Chattogram and Mongla ports to carry goods to their North Eastern states in a very short time.
“The draft suggested the agreement to be effective for five years with a provision of auto-renewal for another five years (while) either of the countries could cancel it giving six month notice,” he added.
He further said four routes -– Chattogram Port/ Mongla Port-Agartala via Akhaura; Chattogram/Mongla-Daouki via Tamabil; Chattogram/ Mongla-Sutarkandi via Sheola; and Chattogram/Mongla-Bibekbazar via Simantapur--were suggested for the goods movements.
He, however, said under the agreement only Bangladeshi vehicles and vessels would be used to carry the goods inside Bangladesh.
"India would have to follow the international rules and General Agreement on Tariff and Trade (GATT) as well as Bangladeshi laws and rules in carrying the goods," he added.
The agreement suggested Bangladesh’s tax authorities would take bond equivalent to duties and taxes from Indian companies while charges, fees and carrying cost will be charged according to GATT principle in addition to regular duty and taxes.
The draft deal said Bangladesh authorities would use tracking systems like global positioning system (GPS), e-lock and e-seal to identify the goods carrying vessels.