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Manmohan pitches for early conclusion of BIMSTEC trade pact

The Hindu, India

Manmohan pitches for early conclusion of BIMSTEC trade pact

13 November 2008

New Delhi (PTI): Pitching for early conclusion of the BIMSTEC Free Trade Agreement, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday said countries in Asia should give a new strategic thrust to the cooperation in the backdrop of global financial crisis.

"We should do something visible in the area of trade and economic cooperation as a manifestation of our ability to do something big together," he said while inaugurating the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) summit here.

Observing considerable progress has been made towards BIMSTEC Free Trade Agreement for trade in goods, Singh said early conclusion of such an agreement would be a shining example of cooperation among the members.

"We also look forward to the next stage of an agreement in the area of investment and services," he told the Summit being attended by BIMSTEC leaders from Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan and Thailand.

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Nepalese Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ’Prachanda’, Bangladesh’s Chief Adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed, Myanmar Prime Minister Thein Sein, Bhutanese Prime Minister Jigmi Y Thinley and Thai Premier Somchai Wangsawat are attending the day-long second summit.