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Bimstec Free Trade Agreement on anvil

The Statesman, India

Bimstec Free Trade Agreement on anvil

12 November 2008

NEW DELHI: A Free Trade Agreement (FTA) amongst Bimstec region is in the pipeline, according to Mr Yogendra Kumar, additional secretary, ministry of external affairs. Thirteen priority sectors have been identified for mutual cooperation amongst the countries grouped under Bimstec, he said while speaking at the Bimstec Business Summit 2008, organised by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham), Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci) and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), here today. The identified areas are energy, agriculture, transportation and communication, trade investment, technology, tourism, public health, combating terror, people-to-people contact amongst others.

Meanwhile, foreign ministers of the member countries of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (Bimstec) met today to prepare the agenda for the one-day summit meeting of the grouping to be held tomorrow.

The meeting is understood to have considered ways to enhance trade and promote greater connectivity between India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and Thailand.

The summit will be attended by PM Dr Manmohan Singh, Nepalese PM Mr Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’, Bangladesh’s chief adviser Mr Fakhruddin Ahmed, Myanmar PM Mr Thein Sein, Bhutanese PM Mr Jigmi Y Thinley, Sri Lankan President Mr Mahinda Rajapakse and Thai premier Mr Somchai Wangsawat.