NE gets desperate for foreign trade

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Guwahati, Apr 21: Business houses of the North East are eager for trade with neighbouring countries. Despite being surrounded by foreign countries, the region's bottleneck has refused to ease and the visiting director General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) has been deluged by the industries of the region with their manifold problems.

Mr R S Gujral, DGFT, is here as part of the post foreign trade policy meeting and the industries of the North Eastern Region have been pleading with him to remove trade barriers so that they could do more business with neighboring countries rather than concentrate on cost-prohibitive mainland India. The DGFT assured the Federation of Industries of North Eastern Region(FINER) that there could be more border trade point with Myanmar but the North East has to wait for Bangladesh.

''Certainly there will be more trade route with Myanmar but for Bangladesh, it has to be done keeping in mind the political and diplomatic relations,'' said Mr Gujral. At present Myanmar and India have two border trade points. Of them, Moreh in Manipur is highly popular while another one in Mizoram has very little activity. Two more are expected to be opened through Arunachal Pradesh.

The DGFT is worried that cheap Chinese goods will deluge the market, chocking to death the domestic industries. But FINER wants more trade route hoping to encash on India's 'Look East' policy.

''The bottleneck of the North East is the main impediment of the development of the North Eastern region and business with east is the best policy,'' he said indicating that the age old position of locking up the North East would be finally changed.

The FINER point out that there were 23 check posts between Moreh and Srirampur, the complete stretch of the North East, and hence trading in the region has never been lucrative for investors unless the east is opened up.

The DGFT has agreed to it saying that a special taskforce will be constituted to address the problem. He also announced that there will be a new office of the Federation of Indian Export Organisations(FIEO) at Guwahati to ensure that foreign trade problem are resolved.


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