Mumbai, 2 March
Women should be encouraged to take lead in promoting in trade and commerce in seven nations of BIMSTEC region, Bangladesh Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi said here while addressing “BIMSTEC Expo 2020”, organised in Mumbai.
The fourth BIMSTEC summit emphasized the need to expand connectivity by road, railway, waterway and air to allow seamless movement of goods and services across South and Southeast Asia and BIMSTEC has also initiated negotiations to conclude Coastal Shipping Agreement and BIMSTEC Motor Vehicle Agreement, Munshi said and added that the importance of Government-Private sector partnership to improve business climate cannot be over-emphasized.
“ It is heartening to see that the government officials and private sector honchos on the same platform in this expo, to find ways and means to regain BIMSTEC region’s past glory as a global commercial hub” Munshi said.
The BIMSTEC Region comprises seven nations-Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Thailand, adjacent to the Bay of Bengal. The expo was jointly organized by All India Association of Industries (AIAI) and MVIRDC World Trade Center (WTC),Mumbai in association with Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC) at the WTC in South Mumbai. The expo comprised exhibition, conference and B2B Meetings. The representatives of member nations had displayed stalls exhibiting various goods and services. The focus was on pharmaceuticals, engineering equipment, textiles, tourism, education and other sectors.
BIMSTEC Secretariat Director D B Paudel, Director, said, “The long pending BIMSTEC Free Trade Area needs to be established as early as possible and the agreement on trade in goods should be signed as soon as possible. Besides, an agreement on cooperation and mutual assistance in the matters of customs should also be concluded soon to simplify customs procedures”.
Exim Bank’s Managing Director, David Rasquinha also said though BIMSTEC Free Trade Area Framework Agreement was signed in 2004, it was yet to be made operational. There is a three-fold increase in trade between India and other BIMSTEC member states in the last ten years (from USD 13.7 billion in 2008-09 to USD 39.4 billion in 2018-19). While India’s exports to BIMSTEC countries increased from USD 8.8 billion in 2008-09 to USD 28 billion in 2018-19, the country’s imports from BIMSTEC region also doubled from USD 5 billion in 2008-09 to USD 11.4 billion in 2018-19.
Additional Secretary (BIMSTEC, SAARC and Nalanda) Ministry of External Affairs Dr. Virander Paul, said that BIMSTEC represents 1.7 billion populations and total GDP of around $3 trillion. Although the high growth of the respective countries continued for the last two decades, the regional share of trade and investment remained below 4%, which was significantly low compared to other trading blocks of this region. As such there was need to revisit the entire process once again.
”Agro-tourism is one of the most suitable strategies to improve the income of rural communities. Awareness programs for rural communities and potential investors on agro-tourism would help add new dimensions on agriculture. Considering the existing gender gap in respect to skill levels, job status and wages that favour males, importance of improving access to finance for women entrepreneurs has been a vital concern for member states. As such BIMSTEC should take initiative for arranging fund for the women entrepreneurs and assist them in developing their entrepreneurial skills, Dr Paul added.
AIAI President and VC, WTC, Mumbai Vijay G. Kalantri, suggested setting up a bank on the lines of the New Development Bank (BRICS) to promote infrastructure, investments and tourism, to introduce multi-modal transport connectivity by road, rail, maritime and air and enhance lines of credit, on line of Rupee-Rubel trade, among countries so that they can trade in their own currency regardless of dollar volatility.
Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Director General Dr. Rajeev Singh,Commissioner Investment Bihar cum Managing Director Bihar Area Development Authority R.S. Srivastav and Consular General of Thailand in Mumbai Thanawat Sirikul and others spoke on the occasion.Caption
Bangladesh Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi, actress Poonam Dhillon, AIAI President Vijay Kalantri at the inauguration of “BIMSTEC Expo 2020” in Mumbai.
Raju Vernekar is a Media Professional based in Mumbai and is a regular contributor of Imphal Times. He had served as Chief Reporter at Free Press Journal (1996 – 2015 ). His Activities includes writing for different news papers, script writing/production for TV channels, Films Division. Writing poems in Marathi, Hindi, English, Guiding mass media students and helping people to solve their problems. Raju may be contacted at [email protected]
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