Second India-Bhutan Joint Working Group on Customs Held in Thimphu

10 January 2017

The Second India-Bhutan Joint Working Group on Customs met in Thimphu, Bhutan, on 10 January 2017, with representatives from Bhutan’s Department of Revenue and Customs (DRC), and India’s Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC). The Meeting highlighted the possibility of facilitating bilateral trade in select land Customs stations along Bhutan-India borders; and discussed streamlining Customs procedures and document requirements at entry and exit points.

Meeting outcomes include

  • Agreement to open three more trading points between Bhutan and India, bringing the number of India-Bhutan trading points to ten. The newly-opened trading points will be in Bokajuli and Rangapani, India, bordering Samdrup Jongkhar, Bhutan; and Birpara, India, bordering Samtse, Bhutan; and
  • Discussion of issues including (i) development of Goods and Service Tax (GST) in India; (ii) capacity development of Bhutan Customs officers through training in India, and (iii) possibility of opening a new trade route.

Mr. Yonten Namgyel, Director, DRC, led the Bhutanese delegation. Mr. Sandeep Kumar, Commissioner, CBEC, led the Indian delegation.

On 12 November 2016, India and Bhutan signed the new Indo-Bhutan Trade, Commerce, and Transit agreement. This Agreement provides for a free trade regime between two countries, duty free transit of Bhutanese merchandise for trade with third countries through India, and adds 21 entry/exit points that can be opened for trade between the two countries.

The First India-Bhutan Joint Working Group Meeting was held in October 2015 in Siliguri, India.

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