Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN) – Trade expansion and reduction of trade imbalance will be on the top of the agenda at a conference on Bangladesh-India Economic Relations, scheduled to be held in Dhaka on Monday.

A 48-member trade delegation of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) will arrive in the capital, Dhaka on Sunday morning to attend the conference, trade leaders and officials said.

The Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI), the country’s apex trade body, and the FICCI are jointly organizing the conference where business leaders, trade experts, government officials and bankers of the both countries are expected to participate.

“We want market access to India for reduction of the large trade gap between the two countries,” Vice-President of the FBCCI Abul Kashem Ahmed told BBN in Dhaka on Saturday.

Mr. Ahmed also said removal of tariff, non-tariff and par-tariff barriers is urgently needed to gear up bilateral trade activities.

The trade position, however, is still in favour of India and the trade gap between the two countries stood at US$ 3.016 billion in fiscal 2007-08 (FY08).

In FY08, Bangladesh export to India stood at $358.08 million against import of $3.375 billion, leaving a gap of $3.016 billion, according to the statistics, compiled by the FBCCI.

Bangladeshi business leaders will also seek investments particularly in energy and infrastructure sectors from Indian investors aiming to strengthening bilateral trade relations.

“We will seek investments from Indian businessmen under joint venture as well as foreign direct investment (FDI) to set up industries in Bangladesh,” the FBCCI leader added.

“This delegation would be one of the biggest and most diverse groups from India to visit Bangladesh. The visit is aimed at developing scouting for investment opportunities with Bangladesh,” an Indian High Commission announcement earlier said.

Mr. Ahmed also said the conference will also focus on simplification of visa issue as easing visa procedure is essential for promoting bilateral relations including trade between the two countries.

Bangladesh mainly exports chemical products, raw jute, agro-products, jute goods, frozen fish, leather, woven garments, tea and knitwear, toilet soap to India.

On the other hand, Bangladesh imports different items includes textile and textile articles, vegetable products, mineral products, prepared foodstuffs, beverage, sprits and vinegar, vehicles aircraft, vessels, live animals and associated transport equipment from India.

BBN/SS/SI/AD-19July09-1:34 am (BST)