India has decided to make special trade concessions to Bhutan in view of the close trade and economic ties with the Himalayan Kingdom.

A statement issued by the Embassy of India in Thimphu on Wednesday said the Indian government has made a special exemption for Bhutan by lifting the restriction on import of potato only from Bhutan with effect from July 4 , 2022 to June 2023, thereby alleviating the difficulties faced by Bhutanese traders in exporting potato to India.

Potato is the most important cash crop of Bhutan and India is the top export destination for its potato exports.

In 2020-21, India had formally notified 12 additional agri-exports of Bhutan, including potato, in the Plant Quarantine Order of India, thereby allowing formal market access of 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.

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

The Government of India will also supply 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 the Bhutanese farmers who depend on agriculture for their livelihoods, both for domestic consumption and export market. 

The Indian government will supply 111,000 metric tonnes of coal per annum to Bhutan through Coal India Limited to meet the requirement of the coal dependent industry of 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 on consumption activities in Bhutan. 

The Embassy said despite the challenges brought on by Covid-19 pandemic and disruptions in the global supply chains, India has been extending fullest cooperation and support to Bhutan in order to ensure 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. In view of the special relationship,  notwithstanding global supply chain disruptions and shortages of various commodities, India has decided to accommodate Bhutan’s special requests,” the statement said.

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