The agreement to set up a Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar (BCIM) Business Forum to strengthen cooperation in economic, trade and investment between the countries was signed by representatives of Chambers of Commerce from the four countries here on Sunday.

 Representatives of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commence and Industry, the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, the Confederation of India Industry (CII) and the Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry signed the agreement on the concluding day of the tenth meeting of the BCIM Forum.

 The Forum will organise business delegations for visits and exchanges of business information as well as participation in international conferences, trade fairs and exhibitions in the four countries.

The meetings of the Business Council will be held once a year to be hosted by the country that is organising the BCIM Forum meeting.

 Speaking on the setting up of the Business Council, Eric Gonsalves, the leader of the Indian delegation at the BCIM Forum meeting, said that many felt that it should have been set up at last year's meeting itself, but it was an important initiative that has been realised.

  He emphasised the need to communicate the importance of greater cooperation between the four countries “beyond our circles.”

 “It is necessary to create a public attitude which will eventually translate into political will,” he said. This was also reflected in the joint statement signed by the leaders of the delegations from all four countries during the day which “recognised that popular support was desirable.”

 Most of the delegates acknowledged that the successful completion of the route survey for a motor car rally between Kolkata and Kunming, the capital of Yunan province in China, ahead of the meeting this year by a 13-member team.  “The team has recommended that the Car Rally be undertaken from Kolkata to Kunming in 2013. The Forum recommended that it should be held to coincide with the next Forum. The ultimate objective remains to ensure seamless connectivity using multi-modal transport systems across the region,” the joint-statement said.