Bhutan, India sign bilateral trade agreement
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.