GoI makes special trade concessions for Bhutan

STAFF REPORTER

Thimphu

The Government of India (GoI) has made a special exemption for Bhutan by lifting the restriction on imports of potatoes only from Bhutan, for another year with effect from 04 July until June next year, thereby alleviating the difficulties faced by Bhutanese traders in exporting potatoes to India.

A press release from the Indian Embassy states that potatoes are the most important cash crop of Bhutan, while India is the top export destination for Bhutan’s potatoes.

In 2020-21, the GoI had formally notified 12 additional agri-exports of Bhutan – including potatoes – in the Plant Quarantine Order of India, thereby allowing formal market access to these Bhutanese products in India.

“In order to facilitate bilateral trade of agri-products, India had opened a new plant quarantine office at Jaigaon in 2020,” states the press release.

The press release also adds that the GoI had recently revised the import policy of India to allow the import of fresh wholly produced ginger from Bhutan, with effect from 19 May 2022. This will address the problems faced by Bhutanese farmers and traders in exporting gingers to India.

In addition, the GoI would be supplying 10,000 litres of Nano Urea, Nano Nitrogen Fertilizer (Liquid) to Bhutan through the Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative Limited (IFFCO) at a special concessional rate.

This is intended to benefit Bhutanese farmers who depend on agriculture for their livelihoods, both for domestic consumption and the export market.

Further, the press release states that GoI will also be supplying 111,000 MT of coal per annum to Bhutan through Coal India Limited (CIL), to meet the requirement of the coal-dependent industries in Bhutan and allow for unhindered supply and export of related products to India.

“It is hoped that the supply of coal from India will greatly alleviate the current shortage of coal in Bhutan, which has an impact on cement production and construction activities in Bhutan,” states the press release.

Despite the challenges brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic and disruptions in the global supply chains, the press release state that India has been extending the fullest cooperation and support to Bhutan to ensure the smooth movement of commodities during this period.

“Our close trade and economic ties are a reflection of the exceptionally close and friendly relations between India and Bhutan that has existed over decades. In view of this special relationship, notwithstanding global supply chain disruptions and shortages of various commodities, India has decided to accommodate Bhutan’s special requests,” states the press release.

Meanwhile, Indian embassy said the government and the people of India stand resolutely committed to the long-term well-being and prosperity of the government and the people of Bhutan.