Bangladesh and Bhutan Customs Begin Sharing Trade Data
12 August 2015
A Meeting of the Joint Group of Customs (JGC) of Bangladesh and Bhutan held in Thimphu, Bhutan on 26-27 July agreed to share export-import data from Phuentsholing and Burimari Customs stations, in follow-up to the endorsed study proposal on the electronic exchange of trade-related information among SASEC member countries in the Third SASEC Customs Subgroup Meeting, held in March 2015 in Goa, India.
A list containing data for at least three export commodities would be shared between Bangladesh and Bhutan. The Regional Director, Regional Revenue and Customs Office (RRCO) and Deputy/Assistant Commissioner of Burimari Customs of Bangladesh have been designated as regional focal points for information sharing. Bhutan has already submitted a list of three commodities to the Asian Development Bank for the subregional SASEC project.
Furthermore, the Meeting decided to share data on Customs intelligence at the national level. Director General of Customs Intelligence and Investigations, Bangladesh and Collector, Customs and Excise, Department of Revenue and Customs, Bhutan have been assigned to the task.
The JGC Meeting also decided to consider opening Bangladesh's Chilmari and Roumari river routes to increase access between the two countries, promoting trade efficiency and boosting the exchange of goods. An official said this will require cooperation with India, since India's Haldia port is necessary to gain access to the two Bangladeshi river routes. Currently, trucks from Bangladesh have no direct access to Bhutan. Bangladesh trucks unload their goods at Burimari land port and reload in Indian trucks to reach Phuentsholing, Bhutan, increasing the time and cost of business.
The JGC will also request India's assistance in upgrading the land customs station in Chengrabandha, opposite the Burimari land port. Upgraded warehouse and testing facilities will expedite the process of clearance of goods.
The SASEC Customs Subgroup was formally established in 2013 by the SASEC Trade Facilitation Working Group to promote subregional trade facilitation initiatives. The Fourth Meeting of the SASEC Customs Subgroup will be held on 27-28 October 2015 in Cebu, Philippines.