Bangladesh lifts ban on Nepali yarn import via land port


Bangladesh has decided to lift the ban on import of yarn from Nepal via the Banglabandha land port after nearly 17 years, following repeated requests from the land locked country.

According to Bangladeshi media, the National Board of Revenue of Bangladesh on December 28, decided to lift the ban on import of acrylic yarn from Nepal through the Banglabandha land port.

The move conditionally allows Nepal to export only acrylic yarn through the port with the ban initially being withdrawn for only one year.

Nepal has long been demanding Bangladesh to open the gateway for exporters of Nepali yarn. In 2002, Bangladesh imposed the restriction on yarn import through the land port seeking to safeguard the local cotton yarn industry from foreign products. The country instead opened up its Benapole land port and Chittagong sea port for yarn import. However, Nepali traders had been reluctant to use the Benapole port, which connects Petrapole of India, stating that they faced a lot of hassles while using the gateway that passes through the Indian land customs. Likewise, trading through Chittagong makes them accrue heavy costs, according to the traders.

Navaraj Dhakal, spokesperson of the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies, said Nepal had been putting forward the issue as one of the main agendas in majority of the bilateral talks with Bangladesh. “However, the ministry has yet to receive an official letter from Bangladesh regarding the matter,” Dhakal said.

Nepal exports polyester and viscose blend yarn worth over Rs8 billion annually. Of the total export figures, half is exported to Turkey. The Trade and Export Promotion Centre (TEPC) statistics show that the product contributed 10 percent of the total export earnings during mid July-mid December of the current fiscal year. India, Hong Kong, Bangladesh and a number of Southeast Asian countries including Vietnam are the other major importers of Nepali yarn.

Suyash Khanal, deputy executive director at the TEPC, said Bangladesh is a potential market for Nepali yarn. According to him, export to Bangladesh could be worth billions of rupees, provided the country allows easy access to the Nepali product. Although Bangladesh has lifted the ban, the country however, continues to maintain stern measures before accepting the goods from Nepal.

“Bangladeshi bonded warehouse licence holding traders will be allowed to import the product from Nepal. Customs officials will conduct physical inspection of imported consignments and take steps to conduct laboratory test of the sample of the item to be sure about the quality of yarn,” reads the Bangladeshi media.

Currently, Nepal and Bangladesh conduct bilateral trade between through two land ports namely Banglabandha and Fulbari in Siliguri of West Bengal, India. Bangladesh has considered import under bond licence duty free, but the country imposes 10 percent duty on yarn import.

Apart from the South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA), Nepal and Bangladesh have also joined hands in the BBIN initiative and Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC). These call for improving economic cooperation along with trade relationships between the member countries.