New Delhi, Oct 14 : Union Minister of State for Commerce and Power Jairam Ramesh is heading an official delegation for trade and investment talks with the Government of Myanmar in Mandalay at Myanmar today.
During the talks, Ramesh will take up the issue of expanding trade centres along the 1600-kms India-Myanmar border. At present, Moreh in Manipur is the only operational trade centre on the border. India will propose two additional such centres-Avangkhu in Nagaland and Zowkhathar in Mizoram which is also a long-standing demand of these two states.
In addition, India will propose an expansion of items to be traded with a view to move towards normal free trade very soon at these centres. India is also expected to reiterate its offer to include Mynamar in the duty free tariff preference scheme announced by it for LDCs.
The details of the financing mechanism to facilitate expanded bilateral trade will be also be firmed up during the Mandalay talks. UBI has already signed an agreement with the Foreign Trade Bank of Myanmar for establishing such a mechanism.
Myanmar will be the beneficiary of the Free-Trade Agreement (FTA) with The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to be signed by India and ASEAN in Bangkok, later this year. Myanmar is also a member of Bay of Bengal Multisectoral Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) agreement involving Bhutan, Bangladesh, Nepal, India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Thailand.
India is hosting the BIMSTEC Summit in New Delhi in mid-November 2008. India's exports to Myanmar in 2007/08 amounted to about 185 million dollars, while its imports from Myanmar were valued at around 810 million dollars.
On October 16, the Myanmar Prime Minister and Ramesh will inaugurate a Centre for Enhancement of IT Skills established at Yangon with Indian assistance of two million dollars.
This Centre, to be run by Indian professionals, is equipped to train 1000 youth every year initially who will be awarded a diploma of the Pune-based Centre for the Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) which is an institution under the Ministry of Information Technology.