NEW DELHI, Jan 5 - In a fresh initiative to boost trade and commerce between the Northeastern States and the South East Asian countries, Assam today proposed construction of an industrial corridor between Guwahati and Mandalay, Myanmar.
Participating in a meeting of the Council for Trade Development and Promotion, chaired by Union Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman at Vigyan Bhawan, State Industries Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary underscored the need to revive the traditional trade and commerce routes between the Northeast and the neighbouring countries.
There is a need to promote higher investments in infrastructure and trade centres. Industrial corridor from Guwahati to Mandalay will benefit the ASEAN markets, he said.
“I have proposed construction of an industrial corridor between Guwahati and Mandalay, which will benefit not only Assam but the entire Northeastern region,” he said.
“Discussion on various measures to promote trade from Assam and the Northeast was held and I emphasised the need to look at Assam as being central to ASEAN and South Asia and the Act East Policy for boosting trade. Focus should be on opening of traditional trade routes and building infrastructure,” Patowary said, stressing that NE states need help for infrastructure development.
Sitharaman underlined the need for enhanced cooperation between the state governments and the Central agencies to create facilities for testing, certification, storage and packaging. She drew the attention of the states to expedite the preparation of the export strategies in line with the Foreign Trade Policy and in the appointment of Export Commissioners for the State.
She requested that the Export Commissioner be made the single window focal point for interaction with exporters from the State.
She also drew the attention of states towards promoting services exports, where “we have a substantial trade surplus.”
“We need to diversify our export basket on services, beyond IT and ITeS, to encompass yoga, health services, tourism, education in other services,” she added.
The Commerce and Industry Minister exhorted the Members of the Council to jointly address the impediments in trade and the infrastructure gaps which adversely affect India’s exports. She said that in the first meeting of the Council, a constructive dialogue with the state governments and UTs had taken place for creating an environment for boosting international trade.