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BIMSTEC.9.Thmb.jpg BIMSTEC countries need to promote intra-regional trade

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SME Times News Bureau | 09 Mar, 2012
With a gloomy economic scenario worldwide, BIMSTEC countries should knock down trade barriers and evolve frameworks to promote intra-regional trade and investments in various sectors, various diplomats said recently.

India has the potential to take lead and provide a new meaning to the BIMSTEC engagement that has potential of generating trade worth 43 to 59 billion dollars under a proposed free trade agreement (FTA), they said at a conference organised by The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM).

Ambassadors and trade officials from Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Bhutan were present for the launch of ASSOCHAM manual listing an overview and key sectors of each BIMSTEC nation.

The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) brings together 1.3 billion people or 21 per cent of the world population, a combined GDP of two trillion dollars and a considerable amount of complementarities.

The sub-regional group comprises of India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Myanmar, Nepal and Bhutan. BIMSTEC has a trade negotiating committee which is
working on the list of goods regarding a framework agreement signed in 2004. An FTA is yet to be finalised.

“India is required to play a lead role by integrating trade and investments while promoting economic cooperation,” said chamber’s secretary general D.S. Rawat in his message. “The BIMSTEC member countries could jointly develop multi-sectoral infrastructure and technology.”

The regional grouping visualised as a bridging link between ASEAN and SAARC, and an important element in India’s Look East Policy. It adds a new dimension to the country’s economic cooperation with south-east Asian countries.
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