In­dia, Bangladesh to start work on pact to boost re­gional trade: Suresh Prabhu

The Hindu Business Line - - NEWS -

Com­merce and In­dus­try Min­is­ter Suresh Prabhu has said In­dia and Bangladesh will start work­ing on a com­pre­hen­sive eco­nomic part­ner­ship agree­ment (CEPA) soon and will also hold talks on in­creas­ing in­vest­ment flows.

Prabhu was speak­ing at an event or­gan­ised by FICCI to dis­cuss the World Bank’s re­gional trade re­port.

The Min­is­ter said the pro­posed CEPA with Bangladesh could set an ex­am­ple for giv­ing a fil­lip to re­gional trade in South-Asia.

The two coun­tries have also agreed to up­grade trade lo­gis­tics for seam­less move­ment of cargo, the Min­is­ter said.

Re­gional co­op­er­a­tion can lay open to In­dia the po­ten­tial to more than triple its trade with South-Asia to $62.4 bil­lion from $19.1 bil­lion now, said San­jay Kathuria, Lead Econ­o­mist and Co­or­di­na­tor, South Asia Re­gional In­te­gra­tion, The World Bank Group. Kathuria said in or­der to re­alise the ben­e­fits of proximity, ad­dress­ing re­gional trade bar­ri­ers was piv­otal. Av­er­age tar­iffs in South- Asia are dou­ble the world av­er­age and there was a lack of aware­ness among ex­porters re­gard­ing the part­ner coun­try’s reg­u­la­tions and stan­dards. This calls for a proac­tive ap­proach, led by In­dia, to ad­dress in­for­ma­tion asym­me­tries and accelerate mu­tual recog­ni­tion of stan­dards, he added.

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