Bhutan, In­dia sign bi­lat­eral trade agree­ment

Bhutan Times - - Front Page - Lhakpa Tsh­er­ing

The gov­ern­ment of Bhutan and the gov­ern­ment of In­dia signed an agree­ment on Trade, Com­merce and Tran­sit on 12 Novem­ber in Thim­phu.

Eco­nomic Af­fairs Min­is­ter Lekey Dorji and Smt. Nir­mala Sithara­man, the In­dian Min­is­ter of State (In­de­pen­dent Charge) for Com­merce and In­dus­try, signed the agree­ment in the pres­ence of Ly­onchen Tsh­er­ing Tob­gay in Gya­ly­ong Tshokhang.

The agree­ment is aimed at boost­ing free trade and com­merce be­tween the two coun­tries. Ly­onpo Lekey Dorji said it was to fur­ther strengthen the re­la­tions and friend­ship be­tween the two coun­tries.

In­dia-Bhutan trade in 2015 was recorded at Rs 85.54 bil­lion, which ac­counts for 83 per­cent of Bhutan’s to­tal trade. Ly­onpo also said that In­dia was the largest and most im­por­tant trad­ing part­ner of Bhutan.

The new bi­lat­eral Trade Agree­ment aims to fur­ther en­hance trade and in­vest­ment be­tween the two coun­tries through trade fa­cil­i­ta­tion by im­prov­ing pro­ce­dures, cut­ting down on doc­u­men­ta­tion and ad­di­tional exit points for Bhutan’s trade with other coun­tries.

The agree­ment also ex­pects to fur­ther strengthen the ex­cel­lent re­la­tions be­tween the two coun­tries and en­hance peo­ple-to-peo­ple con­tact.

Bhutan-In­dia Free Trade Agree­ment is con­sid­ered one of the most lib­eral trad­ing agree­ments in the re­gion that is mu­tu­ally ben­e­fi­cial to both the coun­tries.

The last agree­ment was re­newed on 28 July, 2006, and was valid till 29 July, 2016. The va­lid­ity of the agree­ment was ex­tended for a pe­riod of one year or till the date of com­ing into force of the new agree­ment, which­ever is ear­lier, by ex­change of diplo­matic notes be­tween the coun­tries.

The first agree­ment on Trade and Com­merce be­tween Bhutan and In­dia was signed in 1972. Since then, the agree­ment has been re­newed four times.

The agree­ment may be re­newed by mu­tual con­sent to such changes and mod­i­fi­ca­tions as may be agreed upon be­tween two coun­tries.

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