Bangladesh has offered Bhutan duty-free benefit on export of boulder to Bangladesh. National Board of Revenue (NBR) announced the offer following recommendation of the ministry of commerce of the country.
The facility has been provided with a view to using the large rock for construction of the Padma Bridge in Bangladesh.
The NBR issued a Statutory Regulatory Order (SRO), dated August 02, 2015, by waiving all types of import duty on boulder. The order has been made effective from June 24, 2015.
Officials said Bhutan is eager to supply boulder for construction of the Padma Bridge as it has supplied the product for construction of the Bangabandhu Bridge over Jamuna River in the past.
Boulder is expected to be imported from Bhutan through the Burimari border of Bangladesh.
Customs officials said the duty-free access on import of boulder has been provided replacing the similar benefit on import of timber and wood from Bhutan.
With the duty-free benefit for boulder, export of timber and wood from Bhutan would not enjoy the tax-free facility.
According to a bilateral agreement with Bhutan, Bangladesh offers duty-free benefit for 18 Bhutanese products. Some 90 Bangladeshi products also enjoy duty-free facility to Bhutan.
In December 2014, Bangladesh and Bhutan signed an agreement on allowing duty-free products between the countries.
After signing the agreement, the Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed had promised to allow duty-free import of boulder to use it for construction of the Padma Bridge.
Presently, Bhutan enjoys duty-free facility on export of some products including industrial raw materials, fresh fruits, spices and all kinds of vegetables (shelled or unshelled, fresh or chilled), Bhutan mainly exports fresh and processed fruits and minerals to Bangladesh while it imports garments, ceramics, pharmaceuticals, processed food, and toiletries.
Bhutan exports products worth US$14 million annually to Bangladesh while it imports products worth US$1.3 million.