DHAKA, Feb 22 (Reuters) Bangladesh's imports from China surpassed the country's purchases from neighbouring India for the first time in the July-September period last year, officials said on Wednesday.
Imports from China totalled 32.14 billion taka (6.5 million), surpassing 27.08 billion taka in imports from India during the quarter, the first in Bangladesh's fiscal year.
''China has become very competitive both in terms of price and quality. They are invading globally and we can't keep them off in this age of free market economy,'' Mir Nasir Hossain, president of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry, told Reuters.
The main imports from China are textiles, machinery and chemical products, while the key imports from India are food, textiles and machinery.
Bangladesh's trade relations with both countries are highly geared to imports, leaving trade deficits in July-September of 31.54 billion taka with China and 24.23 billion taka with India.
''Now we are efforting to increase our exports to China utilising duty free access,'' Mir Shahabuddin Mohammad, vice chairman of the Export Promotion Bureau, said.
China granted duty-free access to 84 Bangladeshi goods under the Asia Pacific Trade Agreement, which took effect on Jan. 1, 2006.
Purchases from India totalled 123.34 billion taka in 2004/2005, leaving a trade deficit of 115.47 billion taka.
Imports from China were 99.05 billion taka and the trade deficit was 95.49 billion taka.
(=67.45 taka) REUTERS SD PM1652