6th Joint Trade Committee Meeting between India and Myanmar

In news:

The 6th India – Myanmar Joint Trade Committee (JTC) Meeting was held at New Delhi. The Joint Trade Committee plays a key role in facilitating issues related to enhancement of the bilateral economic partnership between the two countries.

Importance of Myanmar:

  • Both India and Myanmar have long history of shared religious, linguistic and ethnic ties.
  • Myanmar is India’s gateway to South East Asia and ASEAN with which India is seeking greater economic integration through ‘Act East’ Policy.
  • Myanmar shares a long land border of over 1600 Kms with India as well as a maritime boundary in the Bay of Bengal.

Trade relationship:

India’s trade with Myanmar grew by 6.01% from USD 2.05 bn in 2015 -16 to USD 2.18 bn in 2016-17. The total export achieved in 2016-17 was 1.11 USD Billion, reflecting an annual growth of 3.79%. The import stood at 1.06 USD Billion showing a growth of 8.43%.
The bilateral trade between either countries has a much larger untapped potential.

Highlights of JTC meeting:      

  • India sought the cooperation of the Myanmar side in actively pursuing enhanced road, sea and air connectivity between the two countries.
  • India sought the cooperation of the Kaladan Multimodal Transport Project work of their side and an expeditious negotiation of a Motor Vehicle Agreement bilaterally which would facilitate seamless movement of cargo vehicles.
  • During the meeting discussions were held on exploring the feasibilities of direct shipping lines with Sittwe port and Vizag/ Chennai. Similarly, the need for direct air connectivity with Chennai/ Guwahati was discussed.
  • India sought the cooperation of Myanmar side in quick finalisation of the Mode of Operation(MoO) for making the Border Haatsfunctional on the ‘India-Myanmar border’. 10 points spread across 4 states viz., Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Nagaland and Manipur, have been identified for operationalising Border Haats.
  • Agreement to explore opening of two new Border Trade Points at Pangkhuwa and Zoninpuri.
  • Comprehensive MoUs would be explored in areas of Health Care and Textiles.

The MoUs on capacity building between RBI and CBM signed on 22 September, 2015 and on cooperation in the field of Power Sector signed on 19 October, 2016 will be operationalised quickly. The proposed MoU between RBI and Central Bank of Myanmar on currency exchange rate fixation also needs to be expedited. Myanmar side was also requested to explore the suggestion of opening of a Counsellor Office in the North-East.

The Kaladan Multi-Modal Transit Transport Project is a project that will connect the eastern Indian seaport of Kolkata with Sittwe seaport in Myanmar by sea; it will then link Sittwe seaport to Paletwa in Myanmar

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