Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Exporting form West Bengal: A Trader’s Nightmare

Pohit, Sanjib (2007): Exporting form West Bengal: A Trader’s Nightmare.

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The share of exports from West Bengal in India’s overall export is about 6 percent. The present objective of the West Bengal government is to increase it to more than 10%. To meet this objective, obviously efforts are needed on many fronts. The diversification of exports basket, identification of new products, identifying new markets, improving packaging facilities within the states, developing special economic zones, etc are some of the means that the state of West Bengal seem to emphasise in her policy directions. However, one thing that does not seem to figure in the policy framework of West Bengal’s government is to increase facility for the expansion of exports to Bangladesh/Nepal. This is despite the fact that large and vibrant informal trade between India-Bangladesh or India-Nepal continues to thrive in these three countries and the borders of West Bengal are the major routes for these kind of operation. Since the origin of the goods of most of this trade is West Bengal, a logical step should be to bring this informal trade into formal channel as a first step towards increasing the state’s share of exports. It has been argued here that this kind of trade persist due to a host of factors such as, complex customs procedures, capacity constraints and/or corruption at the border. Given the fact it is easier to exports to Bangladesh than any other South Asian countries/Europe due to not-so-strict standard, the focus area of exports of West Bengal, it makes sense to create the right environment for exporting to Bangladesh/Nepal. In this context, this paper attempts to analyse the shortcoming of trade facilitation measures in India-Bangladesh border.

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