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Northeast India To Become Export Hub For Bangladesh, ASEAN Markets

Updated: Apr 04, 2024 03:56:45pm

Northeast India To Become Export Hub For Bangladesh, ASEAN Markets

New Delhi, Apr 4 (KNN) The Indian government is rapidly implementing a comprehensive strategy to transform the landlocked northeastern region into an export hub for markets in Bangladesh and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

This initiative comes as India negotiates an improved free trade deal with the 10-nation ASEAN bloc, aiming to conclude the revised agreement by 2025, reported HT.

The revised deal is expected to address "adverse" provisions of the 2009 trade pact that led to a flood of low-quality, cheap chinese goods routed through the ASEAN region. This "historical error" resulted in a massive trade deficit for India.

With the renegotiated trade deal, the northeastern states could become the biggest beneficiaries. Currently, the region's share in India's total exports to ASEAN is negligible, less than USD 10 million out of USD 44 billion in 2022-23.

However, the government plans to leverage the northeast's strategic location to harness the benefits of the improved trade agreement.

The comprehensive strategy involves identifying market requirements, providing policy support for producing goods and services for neighbouring markets, and developing infrastructure such as special economic zones, warehouses, customs facilities, and highways to connect Bangladesh and ASEAN countries.

Improving connectivity through highways and waterways is crucial to restore the northeast's historical trade links with the region.

Japan has emerged as a key partner in these efforts, investing more than Rs 1,600 crore in the northeastern states for improving road and bridge infrastructure. The Act East Forum, co-chaired by the Japanese envoy and India's foreign secretary, drives these initiatives.

Japan also aims to create a new industrial value chain linking the northeast with the Matarbari sea port in Bangladesh, set to become operational in 2027.

The fourth round of talks on renegotiating the ASEAN-India Trade in Goods Agreement (AITIGA) is scheduled for May 7-9 in Kuala Lumpur.

With its strategic location and improved trade deals, the northeastern region of India is poised to become a gateway for trade with Asia-Pacific countries, fostering economic growth and development in the region.

(KNN Bureau)


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