BIMSTEC leaders decide to take steps to forge cohesion

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New Delhi, Nov 13 (UNI) The seven-nation Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) today directed the BIMSTEC Trade Negotiating Committee to conclude negotiations on Trade in Goods as soon as possible, and continue its efforts for Agreements on Services and Investments.

The BIMSTEC leaders, who concluded their second Summit here, agreed that improved transportation and communication linkages and greater connectivity between the member States was an important element for the BIMSTEC process that would lead to direct benefits to the peoples through increased trade and investment, tourism, and people-to-people contacts.

They acknowledged that the BIMSTEC Transport Infrastructure and Logistics Study (BTILS) conducted by the ADB in association with the BIMSTEC Member States was an important first step in identifying the bottlenecks and suggesting ways to overcome them.

The leaders also agreed to harness the region's natural, cultural and historical endowments in order to enhance intra-BIMSTEC tourism as well as tourism from other countries.

It was also agreed to continue the cooperation in the area of energy and hold the second BIMSTEC Energy Ministers' Conference in Thailand in 2009.

They agreed to cooperate in expanding the technology base of Member States through collaborations and partnerships targeted towards micro, small and medium scale enterprises and decided to establish a BIMSTEC Technology Transfer/Exchange Facility in Sri Lanka.

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