BIMSTEC to enhance intra-regional trade: Nepal

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{image-Upendra Yadav_30082008.jpg}New Delhi, Aug 30: Nepal's Foreign Minister Upendra Yadav has urged the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) members to remove tariff barriers and shorten its negative list in order to enhance intra-regional trade.

Speaking at the 10th Ministerial Meeting of BIMSTEC, a bloc of seven South and South East Asian countries, here, Yadav said that enhanced intra-regional trade will be very beneficial for people of the region. Hence, we need to do more to materialize the spirit and objectives of the bloc's Free Trade Agreement (FTA). Yadav asked the members to attach high-priority to pursuing trade facilitation measures and also pushed for early finalization of negotiations on an FTA on commodity trade.

He also raised concerns over climate change, rising natural and people induced disasters, and the adverse impact that global economic upheavals.

Yadav also highlighted the importance of sustained and reliable availability of energy to development and stressed for more cooperation in the energy sector.

"BIMSTEC also needs to stress on clean energy development, implementation of regional grid connectivity and gas pipeline networks to which all member countries should have access to," he said.

He also apprised fellow BIMSTEC members of the renewed emphasis Nepal has put on the development of hydropower.

He stressed on the need to rejuvenate regional cooperation in agriculture, which is one of the most prioritized areas of the bloc, to fight rising food prices and scarcity.

BIMSTEC is an international organisation, involving a group of countries in South Asia and South East Asia, which includes the countries including Nepal, India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sri-Lanka, Thailand and Myanmar.


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