India, Bangladesh to sign MoU to expand 'Border Haats’
The Dollar Business Bureau
India and Bangladesh plan to sign a new memorandum of understanding (MoU) by the end of this year or early next year to operate ‘Border Haat’.
The two neighbours had signed a similar MoU in 2010 to set up Border Haat, but that agreement expired in 2013. However, four markets continue to operate, and six haats are expected to come up soon.
The India-Bangladesh 'Border Haats' are envisaged to create a traditional system of selling and purchasing locally-produced goods through local markets in local currency or on a barter trade basis to support livelihood of people living in the remote or bordering areas.
"Since October 2, 2013, the 'Border Haats' have been operational in good faith, as the three-year period of agreement had expired. The two countries have exchanged the draft of the new MoU," said Md Waliur Rahman, Director in Bangladesh's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, at an event organised by the Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS) in Guwahati.
The new MoU has been proposed for a period of five years, 50 vendors from each Border Haat could be included against its existing 25. The value of purchases per person has also been doubled to $200.
"Setting up of "Border Haats" is one of the measures to further boost India-Bangladesh relations, through people to people contact," Rahman later told the media.
Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, during her visit to India in 2010, had agreed to set up such markets along the Indo-Bangla border to permit trade in specified products.