Dhaka : Minister of State for Commerce Jairam Ramesh indicated Sunday that India may soon allow foreign direct investment (FDI) from Bangladesh on a "case-to-case" basis, subject to security clearance.
"It is true that presently India prohibits FDI from Pakistan and Bangladesh. We have been reviewing these restrictions with a view to enabling FDI from Bangladesh into India on a case-to-case basis, subject to security clearance," Ramesh said while he was launching the India-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IBCCI) here.
"I am hopeful that Bangladesh businessmen will receive some good news in this regard soon," he added.
The IBCCI is a joint effort of Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).
Ramesh was optimistic that the chamber would soon emerge as a powerful force for sustained collaboration between the two economies and "for deeper partnerships between our two societies".
On the concern by Bangladesh over the trade balance being tilted heavily in favour of India, Ramesh said: "Investments made by Indian companies in Bangladesh will help India to import more from Bangladesh".
He also highlighted India's intention to undertake joint projects with Bangladesh and suggested a possible agreement between the two countries on multi-modal transportation systems, including on container traffic, to facilitate joint projects.
He asked Bangladesh to consider opening additional land customs stations to enable greater two-way trade.
Ramesh said India had taken several significant initiatives to strengthen Indo-Bangladesh relations on the economic front including setting up testing facilities for hilsa fish at Petrapole.
"As a demonstration of our commitment to deepening the Bangladesh-India economic partnership, India has offered to buy eight million items of garments every year," Ramesh said, adding a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the two countries would be signed very soon.
He said India had taken up the upgrade of five land customs stations where Bangladesh had corresponding inland ports – Petrapole, Hilli and Changrabandha in West Bengal, Agartala in Tripura and Dawki in Meghalaya.
"An investment of close to $80 million is envisaged and we expect projects to be completed in the next two years," he said.