Third BIMSTEC Summit of Leaders Convenes in Myanmar
1 March 2014
The Third Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multisectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) Summit of Leaders and related events was held on 1-4 March 2014 in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar. The Summit further strengthened the resolve of the Member States – Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand, and Sri Lanka – to achieve the program’s founding aims of creating an enabling environment rapid economic development, accelerating social progress in the sub-region, and promoting active collaboration and mutual assistance on matters of common interest.
The Prime Minister of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Bhutan, the Prime Minister of the Republic of India, the President of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, the Prime Minister of Nepal, the President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, and the Special Envoy of the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand issued a joint Summit Declaration, in which it was decided to deepen cooperation in all BIMSTEC priority areas, and in particular, to
- Move towards finalizing the draft Agreement on Trade in Goods with agreed General Rules of Origin and Product Specific Rules, and also to signing of the Agreement on Dispute Settlement Procedures, and the Agreement on Cooperation and Mutual Assistance in Customs Matters under the Framework Agreement on the BIMSTEC Free Trade Area;
- Direct the BIMSTEC Trade Negotiating Committee to expedite its work for the conclusion of the Agreement on Trade in Goods by the end of 2014, and to continue its efforts for early finalization of the Agreement on Services and Investments;
- Enhance cooperation in expanding the skill and technology base of Member States through collaborations and partnerships targeted towards micro, small and medium scale enterprises, and accelerate efforts for the early finalization of the Memorandum of Association on the Establishment of BIMSTEC Technology Transfer Facility;
- Enhance regional cooperation in the energy sector, welcome the holding of the Third BIMSTEC Energy Ministerial Meeting in Nepal in 2014 and also the Fourth BIMSTEC Energy Ministerial Meeting in Bhutan in 2015, and recognize the role of the BIMSTEC Energy Centre in Bengaluru, India in this context; and
- Express satisfaction at the continuing work on developing physical connectivity in the BIMSTEC region and progress made in updating the BIMSTEC Transport Infrastructure and Logistics Study, supported by the Asian Development Bank for enhancement of intraregional connectivity, transport infrastructure and logistics, and welcome efforts to identify concrete projects for implementation.
The Leaders further signed the following BIMSTEC Instruments:
- Memorandum of Association on the Establishment of the BIMSTEC Permanent Secretariat;
- Memorandum of Understanding on the Establishment of the BIMSTEC Cultural Industries Commission (BCIC) and BIMSTEC Cultural Industries Observatory (BCIO); and
- Memorandum of Association Among BIMSTEC Member Countries Concerning Establishment of a BIMSTEC Centre for Weather and Climate.
Mr. Sumith Nakandala of Sri Lanka was welcomed as the first Secretary General of BIMSTEC. The Leaders also expressed appreciation to the Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh for providing the premises for the BIMSTEC Secretariat in Dhaka and the progress made towards its operationalization.