The 14th Joint Group of Customs (JGC) meeting between India and Bangladesh was held on 21st and 22nd August, 2023 in New Delhi. The meeting was co-chaired by Member (Customs), Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs, India and Member (Customs: Audit, Modernization and International Trade), National Board of Revenue, Bangladesh.
The India-Bangladesh Joint Group of Customs meetings are held on an annual basis to discuss issues relating to customs cooperation and cross-border trade facilitation. These meetings play a vital role in enhancing connectivity and developing trade infrastructure for smooth customs clearance at land borders. There are 62 Land Customs Stations (which include land border crossing points, railway stations and river banks/ports) along the India-Bangladesh Border in the States of West Bengal, Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram.
Several trade facilitative measures have been undertaken by India in this context recently such as enabling exports from Bangladesh to India by rail in closed containers, with customs clearance facility at any Inland Container Depot (ICD) vide Circular dated 17th May 2022. This would also help decongest the border trade points. Circular dated 09th September 2022 has been issued to enable export of cargo from ICDs in India to Bangladesh using Inland Waterways. Similarly, Circular dated 14th September 2022 has been issued to enable transshipment through India of containerized export cargo of Bangladesh, destined for third countries, using Riverine and Land routes. Likewise, Circular dated 07th February 2023 has allowed transshipment of Bangladesh export cargo to third countries using Delhi Air Cargo.
The 14th JGC meeting discussed a host of bilateral issues such as opening of new land customs stations, easing port restrictions, development of road and rail infrastructure, pre-arrival exchange of customs data and a bilateral agreement on customs cooperation. India thanked Bangladesh for completing trial runs and issuing notification for operationalizing the Agreement on Use of Chattogram and Mongla Ports (ACMP) as was decided in the 13th JGC meeting, and initiated discussions on electronic connectivity of the respective transit modules of ACMP.
The bilateral meeting was successfully concluded with both sides committing to furtherance of cooperation in areas of mutual interest.