A panel discussion on ‘Unlocking BIMSTEC Potential: Trade, Investment and Connectivity’ was organised by MVIRDC World Trade Centre (WTC) Mumbai in association with All India Association of Industries at WTC Mumbai.
H. E. Mr. M. Shahidul Islam, Secretary General, BIMSTEC Secretariat in his keynote address said, “There is a growing consensus that BIMSTEC should expedite finalisation of FTA-related agreements. BIMSTEC countries will be able to sign the Agreement on Trade in Goods and Customs Cooperation Agreement within 2019. BIMSTEC Leaders also agreed to revitalise BIMSTEC Economic Forum and BIMSTEC Business Forum”.
The keynote address was followed by an interactive Panel Discussion moderated by Dr. Prabir De, Professor, Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS).
Dr. De said, “The Declaration emphasised on strengthening institutional structure of the BIMSTEC Secretariat to spearhead regional integration, whose collective economic size is set to reach USD 4 trillion”.
Mr. Suresh Kumar, Chief Ship Surveyor, Directorate General of Shipping, Ministry of Shipping, Government of India remarked, “BIMSTEC countries will be signing an agreement and a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to operationalise coastal shipping”.
Mr. Saugata Bhattacharya, Chief Economist, Axis Bank said, “BIMSTEC bloc must leverage India’s digital payment system, which is the most cost effective in the world”, Mr. Bhattacharya concluded.
Mr. Pratim Ranjan Bose, Chief of Bureau, The Hindu Business Line (Kolkata) suggested that the regional integration of BIMSTEC countries must involve India’s key states such as West Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and North Eastern States in regional cooperation.”
Mr. Sohail Jaria, Member-Executive Committee, Indo-Myanmar Chamber of Commerce and Industry said, “Large BIMSTEC countries must engage in capacity building in smaller member countries for transfer of knowledge and technology to develop the manufacturing sector through proactive measures”.
Mr. Vijay Kalantri, Vice Chairman, MVIRDC World Trade Centre Mumbai said, “BIMSTEC countries must set up BIMSTEC Bank. Also, the EXIM Banks of the BIMSTEC countries must introduce credit lines to promote trade and investment”.
During the event, H. E. released the MVIRDC WTC Mumbai publication ‘BIMSTEC – A Vibrant Economic Bloc’. It reveals the potential areas of cooperation namely, agriculture, manufacturing, trade in services, climate change mitigation, etc.
From (L-R): Ms. Rupa Naik, Captain Somesh Batra, H. E. Mr. M. Shahidul Islam, Mr. Vijay Kalantri and Dr. Prabir De.
From (L-R): H. E. Mr. M. Shahidul Islam and Mr. Vijay Kalantri.