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India will accept the certification of Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution (BSTI) on goods exported from Bangladesh, except for cement, Commerce Secretary Mahbub Ahmed said yesterday.

The new move will fast-track shipments from Bangladesh and save time.

India will need to amend a law to allow the validity of BSTI certification, Ahmed told journalists after a meeting with his Indian counterpart SR Rao at his secretariat.

Ahmed also said India will consider export of 15 lakh bales of cotton every year to Bangladesh so that the country does not suffer from a crisis.

Rao is in Dhaka now with a high-powered business delegation.

The Indian commerce secretary also demanded establishment of more haats along the border areas to help business flourish, Ahmed said.

Rao agreed to set up a Jamdani quality-testing lab in Kolkata for Jamdani saris exported from Bangladesh.

Bangladeshi exporters were demanding a Kolkata-based testing lab for Jamdani as the testing delays in facilities situated in other parts of India were creating non-tariff barriers, Ahmed said.

The Indian official also agreed to lift the obligation of 'eco-mark' certification for products from Bangladesh.

Rao also called for easing the naval transit conditions so that the Indian goods can be carried easily, Ahmed said.

He demanded duty-free entry of 225 Indian products to Bangladesh.

He also asked for more trade of Indian merchandise through Akhaura land port in Bangladesh and urged improvement of land ports to boost bilateral trade.

The Indian secretary agreed to issue two years' multiple visas to Bangladeshi businesspeople and urged the Bangladesh government to do the same for the Indian ones.

Ahmed said India agreed to erect a bridge on the Feni river on the Bangladesh side and arrange negotiations with Lilliput, a kids-wear retail chain of India, so that Bangladeshi exporters can realise money owed to them by the financially affected company.

India also demanded permitting the use of rail routes to export goods to Bangladesh, Ahmed said.

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