India's “Act East” policy aimed at reviving age-old ties with the Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam (CLMV) nations has strengthened trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific region and encouraged manufacturers to create value chains with these countries, Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman said here on Monday.
Ms. Sitharaman said India and the CLMV countries could deepen each other’s manufacturing capabilities, learn from each other’s experiences and create a stronger regional platform for trade and commerce. India’s trade with the CLMV nations has grown ten times from 1.5 billion U.S. dollars to more than 10 billion U.S. dollars during the last 10 years.
Addressing the 4th India-CLMV Business Conclave organised by the Department of Commerce and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Ms. Sitharaman said if the Indian manufacturers set up businesses in countries such as Myanmar, they would get benefit under the generalised system of preferences (GSP) for export to the U.S. and European Union.
Less duty for exports
The GSP gives the benefit of zero or less duty for exports from least developed countries to the U.S. and E.U.
The Minister invited both governments and business communities of the CLMV countries to actively partner in “Make in India” programme, while affirming that India would participate in the Asia-Pacific region's manufacturing growth and develop a strong India-CLMV vertical within the ASEAN market.
Ms. Sitharaman said the land and sea connectivity with the South-East Asian nations was being enhanced to boost trade, with the work having started on projects such as Kaladan Multi-Modal Transit Transport connecting Kolkata with Sittwe seaport in Myanmar.
The Union Cabinet had last year cleared a proposal to create a ₹500-crore project development fund to increase economic presence in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam, which can act as gateways for market access to China and E.U. Ms. Sitharaman said action was being taken for establishment of the fund.
Chhuon Dara, Secretary of State, Ministry of Commerce, Cambodia, said an increased regional connectivity, reduction in transaction cost of trade and skill development were imperative if the India-CLMV trade and tourism were to reach their potential.
Vietnam Vice-Minister of Industry and Trade Cao Quoc Hung, Myanmar Commerce Minister Than Myint, CII president Naushad Forbes and Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje also addressed the conclave.