Business

India, Myanmar to double bilateral trade to $3 billion

BROAD-BASING TRADE BASKET: Union Minister of Commerce, Industry & textiles Anand Sharma (left) with Commerce Minister of Myanmar U. Win Myint at the India-Myanmar Joint Trade Commission meeting in New Delhi on Tuesday.

BROAD-BASING TRADE BASKET: Union Minister of Commerce, Industry & textiles Anand Sharma (left) with Commerce Minister of Myanmar U. Win Myint at the India-Myanmar Joint Trade Commission meeting in New Delhi on Tuesday.  

Seeking to expand their economic cooperation and broad-base their trade basket, India and Myanmar on Tuesday agreed to set a $3 billion trade target to be achieved by 2015 from the existing $1.5 billion.

This was decided at fourth meeting of Joint Trade Commission which was attended by the Union Commerce Minister, Anand Sharma, and the Myanmar's Minister of Commerce, U. Win Myint.

Speaking at the meeting, Mr. Sharma said that India proposed that both countries work towards doubling bilateral trade by 2015. “We need to work towards broad-basing our trade basket. Let us encourage businesses on both sides to utilise Duty Free Tariff Preference Scheme and ASEAN FTA channels to diversify trade,” Mr. Sharma said. Mr. Sharma said construction of the Kaladan Multimodal Transit Transport Project comprising a waterway component and a roadway component by 2013 would completely transform the trade between North-East India and the rest of the world. The cost of the project is $120 million and it envisages a direct trade corridor between Indian ports on the Eastern seaboard and Sittwe Port in Myanmar and then through river transport and by road to Mizoram, providing an alternative route for transportation of goods to North-East India.

The two countries also recognised the need to start collaborating to build a Land Customs Station at India-Myanmar Border (Mizoram) to facilitate the movement of vehicles and goods entering and leaving Mizoram. On the issue of border trade, it was noted that the border trade point at Moreh on the Indian side and Tamu on the Myanmaar side was stabilising and had immense potential for normal trade.

Mr. Sharma invited his counterpart to inaugurate the second border trade point at Zowkhatar (Mizoram) that would connect to Rhi in Myanmar. Both the Ministers stressed the need for working on two additional border trade points — Pangsau Pass (Arunachal Pradesh) and Avangkhung (Nagaland). India and Myanmar have also expanded the list of items for border trade from 22 to 40.

Mr. Sharma also informed India's assistance for capacity building in agricultural research and improving the seed variety in Myanmar. India is keen to participate in the gas sector of Myanmar. Indian companies have shown interest in setting up gas-based units and invest in LNG infrastructure. He pushed for Indian participation in the allocation of gas blocks in Myanmar.

One third of India's imports of pulses and one-fifth of India's imports of timber are from Myanmar. With the implementation of India-ASEAN FTA and the Duty Free Tariff Preference Scheme, Mr. Sharma expressed confidence that India could become one of the leading trade partners of Myanmar. Currently, two items — pulses and wood products — accounted for 97.5 per cent of Myanmar's total exports to India. Similarly, buffalo meat and pharmaceuticals accounted for 45 per cent of India's total exports to Myanmar.

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Printable version | Jul 6, 2020 6:02:20 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/business/india-myanmar-to-double-bilateral-trade-to-3-billion/article2490804.ece

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