Mumbai, June 18, 2018: Export-Import Bank of India (Exim Bank)’s study entitled “Act East: Enhancing India’s Trade with Bangladesh and Myanmar Across Borders” was released at the hands of Mr. Rajeev Kher, Former Secretary, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India, and Distinguished Fellow, Research And Information System For Developing Countries in the presence of Mr. Debasish Mallick, Deputy Managing Director, Exim Bank, Mr. Sachin Chaturvedi, Director General, Research And Information System For Developing Countries, Prof. Rupa Chanda, Head, UNESCAP South and South-West Asia Office and other Research And Information System For Developing Countries and Exim Bank officials during the Inaugural Session of the ‘Research And Information System For Developing Countries-EXIM Bank Summer School on International Trade Theory and Practices’, held at New Delhi on June 11, 2018.
Exim Bank’s study analyses India’s current bilateral trade and investment with Bangladesh and Myanmar with special emphasis on border trade. The study draws attention to the fact that India’s trade and investment relations with Bangladesh and Myanmar have strengthened across years, and presents opportunities to further enhance bilateral commercial relations. The study also highlights the strategic importance of immediate border countries in India’s East and North Eastern region, including Myanmar and Bangladesh, in the context of Government of India’s Act East Policy, and stresses the increasing relevance of regional cooperation, such as Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), which acts a bridge between SAARC and ASEAN regions, and serves as a common platform for regional trade and cooperation among member nations.
The study presents major findings of field visits by Exim Bank officials to ICP Petrapole (India-Bangladesh border), LCS Moreh and LCS Zokhawthar (India-Myanmar border), which include current status and various challenges face by these border trading points. Some of these key challenges include, among others, the need for enhancing warehousing capacity and reduction in time taken for transhipment of goods at ICP Petrapole; need for standardised foreign exchange facility, internet connectivity, improvement in road infrastructure, setting up of laboratory testing facilities and warehousing facilities at LCS Moreh and LCS Zokhawthar.
The study also delineated broad strategies to enhance and foster India’s border trade with Bangladesh and Myanmar, which include improvement of border infrastructure at trading points to facilitate cross-border movement of goods, emphasising the role of India’s Northeast region (NER) more as a gateway to bigger markets in the ASEAN region rather than a consumer market, strategically build connectivity within and across the states of NER and link with the border trading points, streamlining banking facility, strengthening and increasing the presence of Border Haats at strategic points, and setting up of manufacturing hub in the NER which will at the same time promote the “Make in India” initiative of the Government of India, while supporting job creation, among others.
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