BRIEF conducted a survey  for a project, “Lagging Regions in South Asia: Regional Integration, Connectivity, And Competitiveness”, by the World Bank and National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) . The study aimed to understand the issues in cross-border trading. Cross-Border trading between India-Nepal and India-Bangladesh, specifically in Tea and Textile sector.

Before starting the survey for this study, the BRIEF team conducted some additional secondary research for the survey locations. The primary choice for the survey to be conducted were Darjeeling (India) and Japha + Ilam (Nepal). In case the survey was not carried out in the decided locations due to any reason, Uttar Dinajpur (India) and Morang (Nepal) were chosen as back up options. Similarly, the choice for India-Bangladesh trade were Uttar Dinajpur, Islampur (India) and Panchagarh (Bangladesh).

The questionnaire was prepared in consultation with NCAER. The questionnaire was designed in a manner that it was accessible to different stakeholder in the value chain and easy to understand for the respondents. The target respondents for this project comprised of tea farmers, traders, small scale processors, large scale processors, cooperatives, tea estates and exporting firms. The respondent’s category was chosen in a manner that feedback could be received from all the stakeholders in supply chain of tea. Sample size chosen for the study were even for both countries that is India, Nepal and Bangladesh.

The findings of the survey disclosed that tea was the only product which was exported from Nepal and Bangladesh across the border. The trade in the textile sector was negligible for these countries. There were several issues regarding trade between India-Nepal and India-Bangladesh which were brought to light during the survey. They comprised of issues ranging from Customs procedures to documents verification. The greatest of the barriers seems to be bribe, which was seen on both sides of the countries (India-Nepal-Bangladesh).