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India to diversify bilateral trade with Myanmar

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, May 12: India and Myanmar have agreed to expand and diversify the bilateral trade, in keeping with the target of raising the two-way trade to one billion dollars by 2006.

This was indicated in the Agreed Minutes of the Second Meeting of the India-Myanmar Joint Trade Committee (JTC), which was co-chaired by Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath on behalf of the Government of India and Brig Gen Tin Naing Thein, Commerce Minister, on behalf of the Government of Myanmar.

The Minutes were signed by the two Ministers last evening.

In his inaugural address, Mr Nath remarked that although there had been significant increase in bilateral trade to over 500 million dollar in 2004-05, this was still short of the target set by the two sides at the first meeting of the JTC held Yangan in 2003.

Both Mr Nath and Brig Gen Thein emphasised the natural complementarities of the two economies and noted that after Myanmar's entry into the ASEAN and BIMST-EC, new avenues had opened for greater cooperation on a bilateral and regional/multilateral basis.

Mr Nath noted that in 2004-05 itself, India ranked as the second most important market for Myanmar exports and the seventh most important source of Myanmar's imports.

Today, there is ongoing cooperation in the areas of agriculture, telecommunications, oil/gas sectors and increasing business-to-business interactions in the private sector.

On border trade, Mr Nath flagged the issue of opening of the Pangsau Pass as an additional facility for the benefit of the people of both sides living along the border. Besides, the border trade commodities basket also needs to be broadened from the present limited list of 22 commodities, he said.

''Our Bilateral Border Trade Agreement inked in 1994 provides framework facilities by which trade is being carried out through the designated border points of Moreh-Tamu and Zowkhathar-Rhi since January 2004.'' ''We now hope to add another border trading point at Pangsau Pass. We would also consider expanding the list of commodities that can be exchanged under the agreement. However, we need to study the obstacles that stand in the way of bilateral trade, whether they relate to banking, transport or other infrastructure related problems. The JTC should look into this,'' Mr Nath added.


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