News List

Compiled features on recent developments in regional cooperation and integration in the SASEC region.

Year:
September 2018

India-Nepal Meeting on Energy Cooperation Discusses Potential LPG and LNG Pipelines

Mr. Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas, Government of India, and Mr. Matrika Prasad Yadav, Minister for Industry, Commerce and Supply, Government of Nepal, held a bilateral meeting to discuss strengthening of energy and economic ties between the two countries. Both ministers agreed to explore potential pipelines for LPG and LNG to supply fertilizer plants and industries in Nepal.

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Tags: Nepal, India, Energy, LNG, LPG

September 2018

SASEC Elevated Highway to Improve Connectivity and Trade in Sri Lanka

A toll highway to be built in central Colombo will ease traffic congestion, improve connectivity, and facilitate trade logistics in Sri Lanka. The Asian Development Bank has approved a $300 million loan to help in the construction of about 5.3 kilometers of the highway, under the SASEC Port Access Elevated Highway Project.

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Tags: ADB, SASEC, Sri Lanka, Connectivity, Trade, Road, Transport

September 2018

ADB Undertakes Study on Coastal Shipping

The Government of India has tasked the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to undertake a study on coastal shipping. The Government aims to analyze constraints to coastal shipping to facilitate seamless connectivity between consumers and producers using the coastal shipping route. ADB is expected to submit a report on coastal shipping issues and suggested recommendations to the Ministry of Shipping in December.

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Tags: ADB, Shipping, India

September 2018

Bangladesh and India Review Trade, Investment, and Connectivity

Mr. Suresh Prabhu, Minister of Commerce and Industry and Civil Aviation, Government of India, and Mr. Tofail Ahmed, Minister of Commerce, Government of Bangladesh, held a bilateral meeting on 26 September 2018 in Dhaka, Bangladesh, to discuss matters of trade, investment, and connectivity. The two ministers agreed to undertake a joint study for a potential Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, and fast-track six new border haats.

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Tags: Bangladesh, India, Connectivity, Trade, Border Haat, Ports, Rail

September 2018

15th Bangladesh-India JSC Meeting on the Power Sector Reviews Energy Cooperation

The 15th Meeting of the Bangladesh-India Joint Steering Committee on Power Sector reviewed the existing cooperation between the two countries in the energy sector. Bangladesh plans to import an additional 340 megawatt electricity through the Surjomoni-Cumilla North Link, under government-to-government modality. The meeting also reviewed the proposal to set up a power transmission line that will enable Bangladesh to import electricity from Bhutan and Nepal through India.

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Tags: Bangladesh, India, Energy, Transmission

September 2018

Bangladesh and India Inaugurate Friendship Pipeline, Railway Projects

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and India Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a video conference, jointly inaugurated the 130-kilometer India-Bangladesh Friendship Pipeline Project, and the third and fourth dual-gauge rail lines in the Dhaka-Tongi section and dual-gauge rail line in the Tongi-Joydebpur section of Bangladesh Railway. The pipeline will support pumping of oil from India to Bangladesh, helping fulfill the country’s energy needs at less costly rates.

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Tags: Bangladesh, India, Rail

September 2018

Bangladesh Grants India Access to its Chittagong and Mongla Ports

The Bangladesh Cabinet approved the proposal to allow India access to its Chittagong and Mongla ports to transport cargo to its northeastern region. This will reduce transit time and help traders save costs. International rules and the General Agreement on Tariff and Trade will be applied, as well as applicable laws and rules on freight in Bangladesh. Goods bound for India's northeastern region will be carried onboard Bangladeshi vehicles that will be equipped with tracking systems.

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Tags: Bangladesh, India, Ports, Shipping

September 2018

Nepal Experts Study India's Inland Waterways

A team of technical experts from Nepal undertook an official visit to India to (i) study India’s inland waterway infrastructures in consideration of Nepal’s needs, and (ii) hold discussions with their counterparts in India. This field visit follows the meeting between Indian and Nepalese government officials held in July 2018 in Kathmandu, Nepal, which agreed that the Narayani river basin will be used for Nepal’s cross-border trade with India and inland waterways within the cou

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Tags: India, Nepal, Trade, Transport, Shipping

September 2018

Ranong Port to be Thailand's Gateway to South Asia

The Government of Thailand aims to increase bilateral trade with India by developing Ranong port. According to Mr. Tharadol Thongruang, Minister Counsellor (Commercial), Office of Commercial Affairs, Royal Thai Embassy in New Delhi, India, using Ranong port for trade with India’s Kolkata and Chennai ports will reduce distance between the two countries and boost trade.

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Tags: India, Thailand, Southeast Asia, South Asia, Ports, Shipping, Trade, Connectivity

September 2018

Bus Services Linking Bihar and Kathmandu Launched

The bus service connecting Bihar, India, to Nepal, was flagged off by Mr. Nitish Kumar, Chief Minister, Bihar, India. Two routes have started running beginning 13 September: (i) Bodh Gaya in Bihar to Kathmandu, Nepal, and (ii) Patna, Bihar to Kathmandu, via Janakpur, Nepal. The service aims to promote tourism between the two countries, and further strengthen India-Nepal relations.

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Tags: India, Nepal, Connectivity

August 2018

Bangladesh Prime Minister Hasina and Nepal Prime Minister Oli to Take Energy Cooperation to the Next Level

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Nepal Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli agreed to take Bangladesh-Nepal cooperation in the energy sector to the next level. Mr. Ihsanul Karim, Bangladesh Press Secretary, reported that the two Prime Ministers discussed enhancing cooperation in the power sector, and agreed on the need to sign a memorandum of understanding to enable power trade.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Nepal, BIMSTEC, Energy

August 2018

India, Nepal Exchange MoU on the Raxaul-Kathmandu Railway Survey

The Governments of India and Nepal exchanged the memorandum of understanding on preliminary engineering-cum-traffic survey on the broad gauge line between Raxaul, India, and Kathmandu, Nepal on the sidelines of the fourth BIMSTEC Summit. The meeting between India Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Nepal Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli also reviewed India-Nepal relations, discussing ways to further deepen bilateral economic, trade, and cultural ties, and connectivity.

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Tags: India, Nepal, Connectivity

August 2018

Fourth BIMSTEC Summit Pledges to Deliver Results

The Government of Nepal hosted the Fourth BIMSTEC Summit on 30-31 August 2018 in Kathmandu, Nepal, with participation of all BIMSTEC member countries. The Summit, in its Declaration, committed to deliver results in various sectors of cooperation, including poverty alleviation, connectivity, trade and investment, people-to-people contact, and tourism.

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Tags: BIMSTEC, Regional Cooperation, Connectivity, Trade

August 2018

BIMSTEC Foreign Ministers Approve $50 Billion Worth of Connectivity Projects

Foreign Ministers of BIMSTEC member countries approved in principle around 167 projects to improve connectivity in the region. The projects, detailed in a study by the Asian Development Bank, are worth an estimated $50 billion. It includes transportation and cross-border facilitation, multimodal transport and logistics, infrastructure development, aviation, maritime transport, human resources development, communication linkages, and networking in the region.

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Tags: Connectivity, Transport, BIMSTEC, Aviation, Logistics

August 2018

Birgunj Inland Container Depot to Get Upgraded Warehouses for Dusty Cargo

The Nepal Intermodal Transport Development Board (NITDB) is upgrading the inland container depot in Birgunj, Nepal, to give it the capacity to handle dusty cargo, such as cement clinker and fly ash. NITDB is also planning to develop railway tracks to be linked directly to the new warehouses.

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Tags: India, Nepal, Trade Facilitation, Rail, Logistics

August 2018

BIMSTEC Heads of Missions Urge BIMSTEC Free Trade Agreement Conclusion

A preparation meeting for the fourth BIMSTEC summit discussed how BIMSTEC can catalyze regional economic development in the next twenty years. BIMSTEC heads of missions emphasized the need to conclude negotiations for the BIMSTEC Free Trade Agreement, and finalize trade facilitation measures in the BIMSTEC region.

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Tags: BIMSTEC, Free Trade Agreement, Trade Facilitation

August 2018

India Activating Regional Connectivity through TIR Implementation

India began implementation of the United Nations TIR Convention to transform the country’s trade and transport by activating regional connectivity and advancing global trade prospects. The TIR Convention provides global access to markets, connecting India to the wider TIR network that includes Iran, Azerbaijan, Russia and Central Asia.

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Tags: BBIN, Customs, IMT-MVA, India, Motor Vehicles Agreement, Trade Facilitation Agreement, Transport, WTO

August 2018

Editorial: Need for Improving Logistic Performance

How efficiently a country moves physical goods across and within borders determines how it participates in international markets. This editorial from The Financial Express suggests areas that Bangladesh needs to focus on to improve logistics performance, enhance participation in global trade, and stimulate economic growth.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Customs, Trade Facilitation, Transport, World Bank

August 2018

Bangladesh-India Trade to Cross $9 Billion Mark

Trade between Bangladesh and India is estimated to cross a landmark $9 billion. Between July 2017-June 2018, growth of Bangladesh's garment exports to India jumped by 113%, amounting to $276 million. Exports of other products also increased by 30%, bringing in an additional $201 million. In total, Bangladesh's exports to India is set to close at almost $900 million.

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Tags: Bangladesh, India, Trade

August 2018

Indian Hydropower Firm to Sign Power Purchase Agreement with Bangladesh

India’s GMR Upper Karnali Hydropower Ltd. is set to sign a power purchase agreement with the Bangladesh government to export electricity to be generated by the Upper Karnali Hydropower Project in Nepal. The agreement will serve as a guiding framework for Nepal for exporting surplus electricity to Bangladesh.

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Tags: Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Energy, Electricity

August 2018

India, Myanmar Open International Border Checkpoints

The Governments of India and Myanmar implemented the Land Border Crossing Agreement, marking the occasion with the simultaneous opening of the Tamu (Myanmar)-Moreh (India) and Rihkhawdar (Myanmar)-Zowkhawtar (India) international border checkpoints. Signed on 11 May 2018, the opening of the India-Myanmar land border crossings allows people from both countries and third countries holding valid passports and visas to cross the border and travel to any point of Myanmar or India.

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Tags: India, Myanmar, Act East Policy

August 2018

Sri Lankan Investors Eye Expanding Bangladesh Investment

A Sri Lanka-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry business delegation held a meeting with the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority to discuss bilateral trade and investment expansion between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Sri Lankan businessmen expressed desire to take advantage of Bangladesh's business-friendly environment. According to Mr. Aminul, Sri Lankan entrepreneurs are interested to invest in LPG wholesaling, the financial sector, information technology, and port logistics.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Investment, Bilateral Agreement, ICT, Ports

August 2018

Indian Railways Conducts Trial Run from Jainagar to Khajuri Railway Stations

The Indian Railways successfully conducted a trial run from Jainagar (India) to Khajuri (Nepal) railway stations, using a cargo train carrying 5,000 tons of ballast. The 8.5 kilometer stretch is part of the Jainagar (India)-Janakpur (Nepal) broad gauge railway link being constructed to improve connectivity between India and Nepal.

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Tags: India, Nepal, Rail, Connectivity

August 2018

Commentary: Uncorking the Logistic Competencies of India's Northeastern Regions

The author highlights how fast-paced infrastructure development could help unlock competencies of India’s northeast region. With the Government of India's focus on promoting the northeastern region as a key trade gateway, projects such as the 1,400 kilometer India-Myanmar-Thailand highway and the SASEC Road Connectivity project, promises to boost the country's trade and commerce, and enhance India’s logistics capabilities.

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Tags: India, Myanmar, Thailand, SASEC, Road, Logistics

August 2018

Workshop Highlights India’s Energy Connectivity Initiatives with Neighbors in the Region

Mr. Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas, and Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, underscored how India is promoting energy connectivity with its neighbors in the region. In Bangladesh, India is working together with the Government to build interconnecting gas grids and pipelines for diesel supply. In Myanmar, the Indian Oil Corporation is working with companies to set up LPG storage facilities, while Petronet is planning an LNG terminal.

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August 2018

Assam Aims for Air Cargo Connectivity with the ASEAN

Mr. Chandra Mohan Patowary, Industries and Commerce Minister of Assam, India, emphasized the State Government's commitment to reopening air cargo trade routes to increase the state's economic prosperity. The Assam government plans to link its largest city, Guwahati, to the seven capital cities of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) under the Regional Connectivity Scheme. He also shared that the Assam Industrial Development Cargo is working on an air cargo terminal project

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Tags: India, ASEAN, Trade, Connectivity, Myanmar, Thailand

August 2018

Study on Subregional Trade, Transport, and Transit Facilitation Shares Findings in Bhutan

Challenges faced by Bhutanese trading across the region’s borders were discussed at a dialogue in Thimphu, held to validate outcomes of a subregional study on trade, transport, and transit facilitation. Recommendations include need to improve coordination and cooperation among different ministries and departments, and between governments, and invest in Bhutan’s road infrastructure and facilities at Land Custom Stations and explore multi-modal and green transport.

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August 2018

Government of India Introduces ECTS Modality on Nepal-bound Freight via Vizag Port

The Visakhapatnam (Vizag) Customs House has issued a public notice announcing concurrence of the Government of India to implement the Electronic Cargo Tracking System (ECTS) on Nepal-bound cargo via Vizag Port on pilot basis. Transshipment using ECTS is introduced initially on the Vizag-Birgunj (Nepal) rail route via the Raxaul (India) Land Customs Station from 1 August 2018.

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July 2018

Nepal to Sign Energy Cooperation Deal with Bangladesh

Nepal and Bangladesh are set to sign an energy cooperation agreement to oversee electricity trade between the two countries. The agreement will also facilitate Bangladesh investment in hydropower projects in Nepal.

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July 2018

MoU to boost Myanmar-Nepal Bilateral Consultation Signed

The Ministries of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) of Myanmar and Nepal have signed an MoU establishing a bilateral consultation mechanism. Th first meeting reviewed Myanmar-Nepal relations, and discussed how to further boost cooperation between the two nations.

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July 2018

World Bank releases Logistics Performance Index; Nepal Climbs 10 Spots

This year, Nepal garnered an LPI score of 2.51, placing 114th in its overall ranking. It climbed 10 spots compared to its showing in 2016, when it received an LPI score of 2.38. Improvements in customs efficiency, customs clearance procedures, trade-related infrastructure, and ease of doing cross-border trade account for the improved score for Nepal.

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July 2018

Government of Nepal Awaits Cabinet Go-Ahead for BBIN MVA

The Government of Nepal is awaiting Cabinet approval of the draft protocol of the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) Motor Vehicle Agreement (MVA). Cabinet approval will allow Nepal to sign an agreement with India and Bangladesh, and commence passenger and cargo vehicle services in the BBIN subregion.

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July 2018

Bangladesh and India Plan to Increase Number of Border Haats

The Governments of Bangladesh and India are considering development of "border haats" (border markets) in six new locations to further boost Bangladesh-India trade. A joint committee meeting highlighted the positive impact of border haats to the livelihoods of people in border communities. The meeting emphasized the need to draft an MoU and provide a timeline for setting up new border haats in the northeastern region of India.

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Tags: Bangladesh, India, Trade

July 2018

Sri Lanka Launches Trade Information Portal

The Government of Sri Lanka's Department of Commerce launched the Sri Lanka Trade Information Portal, a one-stop gateway for information on trading to/from Sri Lanka. The portal provides information on laws and tariff, non-tariff measures, procedures and forms for license application, and international, regional, and bilateral trade agreements which Sri Lanka is a party to.

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July 2018

ADB VP Pledges Continued Support for East Coast Economic Corridor

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is committed to supporting the development of India’s East Coast Economic Corridor (ECEC), according to Mr. Wencai Zhang, Vice President, ADB. The ECEC extends from Kolkata to Kanyakumari and cover 25,000 kilometers through the states of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Odisha, and West Bengal.

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July 2018

Nepal's Dry Port Sees Growth in Imports

Nepal's third country imports is growing with more importers tapping railway cargo for transport, according to data from Nepal's Dry Port Customs Office. The Sirsiya Dry Port in Birgunj accommodated 25% more import cargo in Fiscal Year 2017-2018. The Sirsiya Dry Port is close to the Indian border, with links to the Raxaul railway junction. It is the first and only rail-linked terminal in Nepal that facilitates third-country trade through India.

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Tags: Nepal, Rail

July 2018

6th Meeting of India-Nepal Oversight Mechanism Held

The 6th Meeting of India-Nepal Oversight Mechanism reviewed progress of ongoing bilateral projects between India and Nepal. This included cross-border rail projects, integrated check posts, Terai roads project, cross-border transmission lines, and the Arun-III hydropower project. The Meeting discussed measures to be undertaken by specific Government agencies to achieve early or on-time completion of projects within the specified time frame.

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Tags: India, Nepal

July 2018

Eminent Persons' Group on Nepal-India relations Finalizes Report

The Eminent Persons' Group on Nepal-India relations has finalized its report, with recommendations on updating bilateral treaties and agreements between India and Nepal, in line with the present reality of the two countries. The recommendations concern trade, commerce, water resource, people-to-people contact and cultural ties. The joint report, prepared in consensus by representatives of the two nations, lays a strong groundwork for furthering India-Nepal relations.

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Tags: Nepal, India, Trade

July 2018

Nepal's Ministry of Foreign Affairs to Promote Bilateral Connectivity and Regional Participation

The Government of Nepal's Ministry of Foreign Affairs will take a more proactive role in the implementation of Nepal's treaties and agreements, including connectivity projects between Nepal and India, and Nepal and People's Republic of China. An action plan drafted by the Ministry highlights active facilitation of bilateral connectivity projects between Nepal and India, and participation in regional institutions, such as SAARC and BIMSTEC.

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July 2018

SAARC Development Fund to Tap E-Commerce to Boost Intraregional Trade

The SAARC Development Fund (SDF) is supporting establishment of an online platform that will enable seamless trade of services across member states. Mr. Sunil Motiwal, Chief Executive Officer, SDF, reported that this e-commerce system is under finalization. SDF called on stakeholders to work on developing common facilities for logistics, warehousing, and transportation.

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July 2018

Bilateral Meeting Focuses on Implementation of India-Nepal Cross-border Rail Links

The Governments of India and Nepal convened the 6th Meeting of the Project Steering Committee for the Implementation of India-Nepal Cross Border Rail Link Projects. The Meeting highlighted the early finalization of the Memorandum of Understanding for the preliminary engineering/traffic survey of the Raxaul (India)-Kathmandu (Nepal) rail line.

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Tags: India, Nepal, Transport, Rail

June 2018

India-Nepal New Partnership in Agriculture Meeting Discusses Potential Areas of Cooperation in the Agricultural Sector

This partnership was conceptualized to increase bilateral cooperation in agriculture for the benefit of Indian and Nepalese farmers. The inaugural Meeting discussed possible future collaboration, such as joint agricultural research and education; mutual recognition of inspection, testing, and certificates; and implementation of trade facilitation measures. The Meeting also signed an agreement to build two quarantine posts to ease Nepal's trade processes.

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June 2018

PRC Signs Deal to Develop Hydropower in Nepal

Nepal and People’s Republic of China (PRC) signed eight agreements worth $2.4 billion, including deals to develop hydroelectricity, water resources, cement factories, and fruit industries in Nepal. The signing ceremony took place in Beijing during Nepal Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s visit to PRC.

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June 2018

Seminar Lauds Bangladesh LDC Graduation Eligibility, Discusses New Horizons for Bilateral Economic Engagement with India

The seminar jointly organized by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and the Bangladesh High Commission in New Delhi highlighted Bangladesh’s eligibility to graduate from “Least Developed Country” category. Mr. Syed Muazzem Ali, High Commissioner of Bangladesh to India, emphasized how Bangladesh-India bilateral ties could act as a catalyst for strengthening regional and subregional cooperation and integration in the region.

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June 2018

Sri Lanka High Commissioner: Vision Offers Opportunities for Indian Businesses

Ms. Chitranganee Wagiswara, high commissioner of Sri Lanka in New Delhi, India, urged Indian companies to take advantage of the ample business opportunities in Sri Lanka. She said Sri Lanka’s Vision 2025 positions the country as an export-oriented economic hub at the center of the Indian Ocean.

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June 2018

ADB Submits Jogighopa Multi-Modal Logistics Park Study Report

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) submitted the Jogighopa Multi-Modal Logistics Park (MMLP) pre-feasibility study report to the Ministry of Road, Transport and Highways, Government of India, on 19 June 2018. The Government of India (GoI) requested for ADB's support to conduct MMLP pre-feasibility studies at select locations, including Jogighopa in Assam, India.

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Tags: ADB, India, Transport

June 2018

Ludhiana Customs Conducts AEO Camp

The Customs Commissionerate of Ludhiana held an Authorized Economic Operators’ (AEO) camp at the Customs House Sanhewal. Mr. AS Ranga, Customs Commissioner, reiterated the Government of India's commitment to implementation of the World Trade Organization's Trade Facilitation Agreement. He discussed important features of the AEO scheme and details to remember in filing AEO applications. Representatives from different industries, and importers and exporters attended the event.

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Tags: Customs, India, WTO, Authorised Economic Operators, Trade Facilitation Agreement

June 2018

SASEC Countries to Gain by Improving Transport Times

By investing in infrastructure that improves connectivity and reduces transport times to key markets, South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation countries could reap major benefits, a new Asian Development Bank study says.

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Tags: SASEC, ADB, Trade, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, World Bank

June 2018

Nepal Government Readies Chobhar Dry Port Construction

The Nepal Intermodal Transport Development Board (NITDB) plans to begin construction of a dry port in Chobhar by end of this fiscal year, and complete the project by end of 2019. The dry port will be equipped with warehouses, parking lots, litigation shed, Customs administrative building, quarantine, banks, and other required facilities for Customs clearance.

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June 2018

SARSO Sets Regulatory Standards for Biscuits, Refined Sugar, and Milk Products

Member nations of SAARC have agreed on common standards for biscuits, refined sugar, and milk products. The South Asian Regional Standards Organization (SARSO) has set regulatory standards for these three products, including requirements related to packaging, marking, labeling, and sampling of biscuits and refined sugar, as well as production, processing, and handling of milk and milk products.

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Tags: SARSO, SAARC, Harmonization, Trade, Standards Harmonization

June 2018

Commentary: Opening up Nepal-India Skies

Establishing an additional air route via Nepal will help reduce congestion and enhance air traffic safety in the region. In this commentary, Mr. Tri Ratna Manandhar, former Director General of Civil Aviation Authority, Nepal, discusses how India and Nepal could work together to implement the Himalaya Route.

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Tags: India, Nepal, Transport

June 2018

Hard and Soft Infrastructure Can Boost Myanmar’s Trade with BBIN Countries

A Meeting organized by the Marketing Research and Development and the Consumer Unity and Trust International (CUTS)-India, discussed the importance of developing both hard and soft infrastructure to boost trade between Myanmar and its neighbors to the west—Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal (BBIN). The Meeting focused on discussing how to improve trade between Myanmar and its BBIN neighbors.

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June 2018

Commentary: SL to Advance Cross Border Trading through NSW, Trade Information Portal

In this commentary, Mr. Bandula Dissanayake, Secretary General, National Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka, notes initiatives being planned by the Government of Sri Lanka to improve cross-border trading in the country. The National Single Window will offer a single point for submission of standardized information and documents to facilitate Sri Lanka's imports and exports. The Trade Information Portal, a complementary project, would help generate trade and investment.

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June 2018

Shanghai Cooperation Organization Firms Up Commitment to Trade Facilitation Plan

Leaders of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member countries—the People’s Republic of China (PRC), India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan—held an SCO Heads of State Council Meeting in Qingdao, PRC. They endorsed a statement underscoring SCO’s commitment to facilitate trade across its members' borders through simplified procedures.

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May 2018

Bangladesh-Nepal Commerce Secretary Meeting Agrees on Measures to Boost Trade, Transit, and Economic Cooperation

The fourth Bangladesh-Nepal Commerce Secretary Meeting on Trade, Transit, and Economic Cooperation focused on enhancing bilateral trade and narrowing the trade imbalance between the two nations. The delegations agreed to prioritize reviewing the operational modality for transit cargo, committed concluding the Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement, and agreed to review non-tariff barriers hindering growth of Nepal's key export products to Bangladesh.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Nepal, Trade, Transit, Economic cooperation

May 2018

Bangladesh Approves Installation of Substation for Importing 500 MW from Tripura, India

Bangladesh’s Executive Committee of the National Economic Council has approved a project to install a high-voltage direct-current back-to-back substation at Comilla in Bangladesh for importing 500 megawatts of electricity from Tripura, India.

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Tags: ADB, Bangladesh, Energy, India, SASEC, Trade, Rail, Transport

May 2018

India Gives $4.8 Million to Nepal for Postal Highway Construction

The Government of India turned over INR330 million ($4.8 million) to the Government of Nepal for the construction of Nepal’s Postal Highway. The amount is part of India’s grant assistance for two road packages for Birgunj-Thori Road, implemented under Nepal’s Postal Highway Project.

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May 2018

Planned Multimodal Linkages to Turn Silchar into a Transport Hub

Plans are being drafted to turn Silchar, a city in Assam, India, into a logistics hub. Multimodal transport linkages from Silchar to Myanmar and to Bangladesh are being considered, in line with the Government of India's "Act East" policy. These will decongest Guwahati and place Silchar at the forefront of growing economic relations between India's northeastern states and Bangladesh and the countries in Southeast Asia.

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Tags: India, Act East Policy, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Thailand, Economic Corridor Development

May 2018

Nepal Eminent Persons' Group Seeks to Further Boost Vizag Port Trade Efficiency

A delegation of Eminent Persons' Group (EPG) members from Nepal visited the Visakhapatnam (Vizag) port on 24 May 2018. The team met with Mr. Movva Tirumala Krishna Babu, Chairman, Vizag Port Trust. The Meeting recommended measures to boost efficiency of cargo shipment from Vizag port to Nepal.

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Tags: Nepal, India, Ports, Trade, Transit, Hydropower, Cooperation

May 2018

Myanmar Seeks to Increase Export Volume to Nepal

The Governments of Myanmar and Nepal are planning to sign a Memorandum of Understanding to boost their economic ties and increase trade. According to Myanmar Vice President U Myint Swe, Myanmar is seeking to increase its export volume to Nepal. Demand for imported beans and pulses from Myanmar is on the rise in Nepal.

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Tags: Myanmar, Nepal, Bilateral Trade

May 2018

Ministerial Meeting of LLDCs Emphasize Need to Address Trade and Transport Issues

The 9th Annual Ministerial Meeting of Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs) on Trade and Transport was held to discussed key issues in transport, transit cooperation, trade, and trade facilitation among LLDCs. Bhutan and Nepal sent delegations to the Meeting. They highlighted initiatives being taken to connect their countries to the global market, including bilateral agreements in the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal subregion and the SASEC Trade Facilitation Program.

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Tags: Trade, Trade Facilitation, Sustainable Development Goals, Cooperation, Connectivity, Bilateral Agreement, Bilateral Trade, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, SASEC, India, Transport, Ports, Customs, Roads, Single Window

May 2018

Case Study: Removing Roadblocks to Trade

This case study reviews how the Subregional Transport Facilitation Project removed roadblocks to Nepal's trade. The project, approved in 4 November 2004 and completed in 21 September 2010, made flow of import and export goods to Nepal easier, faster, and smoother. Learn how the project lowered the cost of capital for cargo in Nepal by 12% annually, making the country better connected to the subregional economy.

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Tags: Transport, SASEC, ADB, Nepal, Customs

May 2018

India and Nepal Prime Ministers Vow to Strengthen Cooperation

India Prime Minister Narendra Modi was in Nepal for a state visit on 11-12 May 2018 at the invitation of Nepal Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli. The meeting aimed to strengthen ties between India and Nepal and generate momentum for the implementation of agreements between the two countries.

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May 2018

India, Myanmar Sign Agreement on Land Border Crossing

The Governments of India and Myanmar inked the Agreement on Land Border Crossing during the visit of Ms. Sushma Swaraj, External Affairs Minister of the Government of India, to Myanmar on 10-11 May 2018. This landmark agreement allows people from both countries to cross the land border with passport and visa, for purposes such as availing health and education services, pilgrimage, and tourism.

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Tags: India, Myanmar, Tourism

May 2018

BIMSTEC Working Group on Customs Cooperation Holds First Meeting

The BIMSTEC Working Group on Customs Cooperation held its first meeting on 10-11 May 2018 in New Dehi, India. The Meeting discussed progress in customs cooperation among BIMSTEC countries, and finalized the draft text of the 'Agreement on Cooperation and Mutual Assistance in Customs Matters' for the BIMSTEC Free Trade Area.

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Tags: BIMSTEC, Customs, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Trade

May 2018

Government of India to Develop India-Bhutan Railway Connectivity

The Ministry of External Affairs of the Government of India is reviewing feasibility studies for potential railway linkages between India and Bhutan. The studies conducted by the Northeast Frontier Railway include five possible routes.

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Tags: India, Bhutan, Transport, Rail, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Nepal

May 2018

India Moving Ahead with TIR Implementation

The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry is fast-tracking implementation of the United Nations TIR Convention, following the Indian government’s initiatives to promote trade expansion, particularly along the international North-South Transport Corridor.

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Tags: India, Trade, Transport

May 2018

India, Japan, and People’s Republic of China to Build LNG Terminals in Sri Lanka

The Government of India signed an agreement to build two liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals in Colombo, Sri Lanka, in collaboration with the Government of Japan. These were approved by the Government of Sri Lanka, along with an LNG project by the People's Republic of China. In total, the three LNG power plants will generate up to 1,400 megawatts.

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Tags: India, Sri Lanka, Renewable Energy, Energy, LNG

May 2018

Bangladesh Executive Committee of the National Economic Council Approves SASEC Road Project

The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council of the Government of Bangladesh approved revisions to the project to upgrade the Joydevpur-Chandra-Tangail-Elenga Road into a four-lane highway. Revisions include extension of deadline and increase in funding. The Asian Development Bank will provide financing support through the South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) road connectivity project.

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Tags: Bangladesh, ADB, SASEC, Transport, Road, Trade, Regional Cooperation

May 2018

ADB Advisor: Renewables, Regional Cooperation, LNG Import can Help Boost Sri Lanka's Energy Security

Dr. Yongping Zhai, Technical Advisor (Energy), Sustainable Development and Climate Change Department, Asian Development Bank (ADB), and Mr. David Elzinga, Senior Energy Specialist, ADB, advised the Government of Sri Lanka to keep their options open in securing the country's energy future. Reiterating ADB's support for Sri Lanka's energy security, Dr. Zhai urged the country to opt for renewables over coal to fast-track its commitment to the Paris agreement.

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Tags: ADB, Renewable Energy, Climate Change, Energy, Sri Lanka, Regional Cooperation

May 2018

Double Rail Track Project in Bangladesh to Increase Connectivity with India, Bhutan, and Nepal

The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council of the Government of Bangladesh approved the double laning of the railway track from Khulna to Darshana. Darshana, a rail transit point, lies on the Bangladesh-India border. Spanning around 217 kilometers, the double rail line will establish rail connectivity with India, with links toward Bhutan and Nepal. It will also provide access to Mongla Port.

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Tags: India, Bhutan, Nepal, Rail, Transport

May 2018

Nagaland Chief Minister Emphasize Need to Develop Road Infrastructure

Mr. Neiphiu Rio, Chief Minister of Nagaland, highlighted the need to develop road infrastructure along India's eastern corridor to improve people's lives. Speaking in an interactive session on the Government of India's 'Act East' Policy chaired by Ms. Sushma Swaraj, External Affairs Minister of the Government of India, Mr. Rio urged fast-tracking transformation of connectivity corridors into economic corridors.

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May 2018

Bhutan Holds First National Standards Conclave

The Bhutan Standards Bureau (BSB) hosted the first National Standards Conclave in Thimphu to highlight the importance of standardization among different stakeholders. The Conclave aimed to help chart the direction and objectives of standard setting in the country. The absence of national standards hinders Bhutan from being a party to a regional standards body such as the South Asian Regional Standards Organization (SARSO), and other standards organization.

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Tags: Bhutan, Standards Harmonization, Trade

May 2018

ADB Vice President: Speech at the 12th Informal Meeting of the SAARC Finance Ministers

In this speech, Mr. Wencai Zhang, Vice President, Asian Development Bank (ADB), discusses how ADB can help realize a more prosperous South Asian region through its assistance to the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation. He mentions ADB’s support for South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation, whose vision provides a strategic framework to unleash the subregion's economic potential.

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April 2018

India, Nepal Review Trade and Transit Treaties

The Governments of India and Nepal held an India-Nepal Inter-Governmental Committee Meeting on Trade, Transit, and Cooperation to Control Unauthorised Trade, led by Commerce Secretaries of the two Governments. They discussed bilateral trade, transit, and economic relations, and agreed to conclude measures to further improve bilateral trade and investment ties.

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Tags: India, Nepal, Trade Facilitation, Transport, Transit, Inland waterways, Standards Harmonization

April 2018

Railway Transit for Cargo Bound for Biratnagar, Nepal via Jogbani, India

The Government of India launched the test phase for railway movement of goods entering Nepal via the Biratnagar check post. The Container Corporation of India began carrying freight bound for Jogbani in Bihar, the nearest rail station to Biratnagar, on 25 April 2018. This development follows implementation of the electronic cargo tracking system.

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Tags: Rail, India, Nepal, Electronic Cargo Tracking System, SASEC

April 2018

Bangladesh-India-Nepal Conduct Trial Run for Bus Service

Bangladesh, India, and Nepal conducted a trial bus service run on 24-25 April 2018. Two buses left Dhaka, Bangladesh, for Kathmandu, Nepal, carrying delegates from the three countries and the ADB. The Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal Motor Vehicles Agreement enables the bus service.

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Tags: Bangladesh, BBIN, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Transport

April 2018

Bangladesh to Sign Free Trade Agreement with Thailand

The Government of Bangladesh will sign a free trade agreement (FTA) with the Government of Thailand, according to Commerce Minister of the Government of Bangladesh Tofail Ahmed. The FTA promises to boost trade between the two countries, which stands around $2 billion.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Thailand, FTA, Trade, Imports, Exports

April 2018

Sri Lanka Finalizes National Export Strategy, Appoints Advisory Committees

The National Export Strategy (NES) of the Government of Sri Lanka has been finalized by the Export Development Board (EDB) and is ready for submission to the Cabinet. The strategy aims to boost the performance of the country's focus sectors and improve the business environment by developing trade support functions in logistics, trade information and promotion, and national quality infrastructure.

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Tags: Sri Lanka, Exports, Trade, Trade Facilitation, Tourism

April 2018

Bangladesh to Set Up a National Single Window for Trade Facilitation

The Bangladesh National Board of Revenue (NBR) will act as lead agency for the planned National Single Window (NSW) for trade facilitation in Bangladesh, shared NBR Chairman Md. Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan. This initiative is another Government undertaking in line with the implementation of the World Trade Organization's (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA).

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Tags: Bangladesh, Single Window, Trade Facilitation

April 2018

Bangladesh PM: Strive for Connectivity, Invest in Youth and Women

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said Asian countries should strive for connectivity and invest in youth and women to address inequality and to help stabilize the region. She was addressing Asian leaders at the Commonwealth Business Forum in London.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Gender, Connectivity

April 2018

Bilateral Talk Held by Nepal Minister of Foreign Affairs and People’s Republic of China State Councilor and Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Pradeep Kumar Gyawali, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Government of Nepal, and Mr. Wang Yi, State Councilor and Minister of Foreign Affairs, People’s Republic of China (PRC), held official bilateral talks during Mr. Gyawali’s official visit to PRC. The Meeting discussed speedy implementation of all agreements and understandings, and establishment of a coordination and implementation mechanism to assist in the effective implementation of PRC-supported projects in Nepal.

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Tags: Nepal, Trade, People's Republic of China

April 2018

Commentary: Let's Set Sail

This commentary by Ms. Dikshya Singh, Research Officer at South Asia Watch on Trade, Economics and Environment, puts forward that the decision to connect India and Nepal via inland waterways is a "landmark decision" that is worth pursuing. While modalities have yet to be set by the two Governments, the option to connect Nepal to India's waterways promises to further boost Nepal's trade facilitation and make India's inland waterways infrastructure project more financially viable.

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Tags: Nepal, India, Transport, Connectivity

April 2018

Nepal Secures More Oil Tankers from India

Around 375 oil tankers bringing in fuel to Nepal from Indian Oil Corporation depots in Gonda in Uttar Pradesh, and Banthara, to the Nepalgunj and Bhairawa border points will be required to install a security locking system to eliminate pilferage in transit, shared Nepal Oil Corporation spokesperson Mr. Birendra Kumar Goit.

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Tags: India, Nepal, Trade Facilitation

April 2018

Bangladesh Cabinet Approves Proposals to Import More Energy from India, Build Railway

The Government of Bangladesh's Cabinet Committee on Purchase approved a proposal to import 500 megawatts of electricity from India from June 2018 to May 2033 to help meet the country's energy demand. The Committee also cleared a proposal appointing Texmaco Rail and Engineering from India to build the dual gauge rail line from Akhaura to Agartala.

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Tags: Bangladesh, India, Energy, Rail, Transport, Transmission

April 2018

India Highway Authority Signs Agreement for International Highway Project

The National Highways Authority of India signed on 11 April 2018 an agreement to widen the Yagyi-Kalewa section of the India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway. Construction is also underway for the Imphal-Kangchup-Tamenglong road under the SASEC Road Connectivity Investment Program. These projects will improve the flow of vehicular traffic and enhance trade, health services, and tourism in India, Myanmar, and Thailand.

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Tags: India, Myanmar, Thailand, SASEC, Transport, Road

April 2018

India and Nepal to be Linked by Railway

India and Nepal are set to be linked by rail with the agreement by the Governments of both countries to connect Raxaul, a border city in India, to Kathmandu, Nepal's capital city, by rail. Preparatory survey work will be conducted by the Government of India, in consultation with the Government of Nepal, for a new electrified rail line within one year.

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Tags: Nepal, India, Rail, Connectivity, Act East Policy, Transport

April 2018

Inland Waterway Connectivity to be developed between India and Nepal

India and Nepal are set to develop the inland waterway linkage between their countries to promote efficient and more cost effective movement of goods. India Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Nepal Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli issued a joint statement on forging this new route—which will also open additional sea access to landlocked Nepal—between the two countries on 7 April 2018, during Prime Minister Oli's state visit to India.

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Tags: Connectivity, India, Inland waterways, Nepal, LLDC

April 2018

India Prime Minister Modi and Nepal Prime Minister Oli Inaugurate ICP, Issue Joint Statements

Nepal Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli emphasized the high importance Nepal places upon its relationship with India, and Nepal's desire to further strengthen this bilateral partnership, in a meeting with India Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Prime Minister Oli visited India on 6-8 April 2018, upon the invitation of India’s Prime Minister. The two Prime Ministers jointly inaugurated the Integrated Check Post (ICP) at Birgunj, Nepal, and issued three joint statements of cooperation.

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Tags: India, Nepal, Trade Facilitation, Connectivity, Trade

April 2018

India Pilots Container Train to Bangladesh

India led a test run of the first container freight train from Kolkata, India, to Dhaka, Bangladesh on 3-4 April 2018. The rail service will be the first container train service between the two countries. It will reduce cost and transport time, thereby improving trade between India and Bangladesh.

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Tags: Bangladesh, India, Rail, Trade Facilitation, Trade

March 2018

BBIN Initiative for Boosting Bus Service in the Subregion; Sets Dhaka-Kathmandu Trial Run

Selected commercial and personal vehicles, including a passenger bus service, will join a trial run from Dhaka, Bangladesh to Kathmandu, Nepal on 23-26 April 2018. The route will pass through the Banglabandha (Bangladesh)-Phulbari (India) border and through Panitanki (India)-Kakarbhitta (Nepal) border. Senior officials of the governments of Bangladesh, India, and Nepal have agreed to operate more cargo and passenger buses along key routes in the region to enhance connectivity.

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Tags: Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Transport

March 2018

SAARC Member Countries Pledge to Set a Common Standard for Chemicals and Chemical Products

SAARC held a meeting on 26-27 March 2018 to discuss development of regional standards for chemicals and chemical products. Participants expressed a commitment to develop a common standard for the region and remove standards-related barriers hindering growth of trade among SAARC countries.

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Tags: Standards Harmonization, SAARC, SARSO

March 2018

Sri Lanka Commerce and Industry Ministry: Stronger Maritime and Air Links can Boost Sri Lanka-Bangladesh Ties

The Ministry of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka emphasized the need for the country to build stronger maritime and air links with Bangladesh to increase bilateral trade and investments. Improving linkages between Sri Lanka's Hambantota/Colombo ports and Bangladesh's Chittagong port will encourage more shipping, tourism, and investments, according to the Ministry.

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Tags: Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Shipping

March 2018

Watch: Foster Cooperation between SAARC and SASEC -SAARC SG

South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Secretary General Amjad Hussain Sial met with ADB President Takehiko Nakao to discuss ways to increase cooperation between SAARC and ADB. Mr. Sial noted the prospects for better cooperation between SAARC and SASEC.

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Tags: Regional Cooperation, SAARC, ADB, SASEC, South Asia

March 2018

BIMSTEC Conference Looks to the Future of the Bay of Bengal Region

The BIMSTEC conference, "BIMSTEC at its 20: Towards a Bay of Bengal Community" convened scholars, think-tanks, government officials, diplomats, business leaders, and other stakeholders from BIMSTEC member countries—Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Thailand—to take stock of the inter-regional organization's achievements and milestones, and aimed to chart a new direction for the future. It examined the potential and challenges of the BIMSTEC region.

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Tags: BIMSTEC, Trade

March 2018

Locomotives Boost India-Myanmar Cooperation

Providing a boon to relations between India and Myanmar, Indian Railways delivered 18 AC/DC 1350 horsepower diesel electric locomotives to Myanmar Railways six months ahead of schedule. Funded with an Indian line of credit, the fuel-efficient locomotives are fitted with micro-processor control-based systems, equipped with the latest technology, and runs at a maximum speed of 100 kilometers per hour.

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Tags: Myanmar, India, Transport

March 2018

Nepal to Propose Finalization of Transshipment Modality with India in Upcoming IGC Meeting

The Government of Nepal is aiming to finalize the transshipment modality with the Government of India for its third country trade. It will be part of the agenda in the upcoming Intergovernmental Committee (IGC) meeting in April in Pokhara, Nepal, headed by India and Nepal commerce secretaries.

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Tags: Nepal, India, ADB, Transport, Electronic Cargo Tracking System

March 2018

India Keen to Tap Pangaon River Terminal for Trade with Bangladesh

The Ministry of Shipping of the Government of India will propose to add the Pangaon river terminal into the India-Bangladesh protocol for inland water trade at the upcoming secretary-level talks between the two countries. Located 20 kilometers away from Dhaka, Bangladesh, the Pangaon container terminal can provide a cost-effective means to transport goods between Kolkata and Dhaka.

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Tags: India, Bangladesh, Shipping

March 2018

6th SAARC Business Leaders' Conclave Notes the Need to Prioritize the Economic Agenda

The 6th SAARC Business Leaders' Conclave stressed the importance of prioritizing the economic agenda in the SAARC region. Mr. Shekhar Golcha, Senior Vice President, Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, underscored the need to make the economic agenda the guiding force among relationships within SAARC.

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Tags: Connectivity, Infrastructure, Investment, SAARC, Trade

March 2018

Bangladesh, Thailand Discuss Bilateral Cooperation in Shipping, Trade, and Energy

Bangladesh's 'Look East Policy' and Thailand's 'Look West Policy' could be synchronized to create new trade and economic connectivity corridors, according to Thailand Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-chaon during a meeting with Bangladesh Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali. They discussed a range of bilateral cooperation, including shipping, trade, energy, and those under BIMSTEC.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Thailand, Shipping, Energy, Trade, Transport

March 2018

Expansion Work Underway to Increase Kolkata Port Capacity

The Kolkata Port Trust is working to increase the port’s capacity, ease congestion, and reduce paperwork requirements for traders. The port, which handles most of Nepal’s third-country trade, is improving its physical infrastructure and cargo handling system.

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Tags: India, Nepal, Trade Facilitation, Ports, Electronic Cargo Tracking System

March 2018

ICP Construction in Nepalgunj Begins

The Government of India has appointed a contractor to build the integrated check post (ICP) in Nepalgunj, Nepal, on the India-Nepal border. Timeline set for building and completion is two years. The ICP on the Nepalgunj-Rupaidiha (India) border would facilitate improved cross-border connectivity.

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Tags: India, Nepal, Trade Facilitation

March 2018

Commentary: More Power to Nepal-Bangladesh Ties

As Bangladesh's economy expands, its demand for energy also increases. The Bangladesh National Conservation Strategy projects that by 2030, the country's electricity demand will reach around 34,000 megawatts. In this commentary, Mr. Promod Rijal, senior economist at the Institute for Integrated Development Studies in Nepal, explains how transboundary energy trade between Bangladesh and Nepal through India will help Bangladesh meet its energy needs.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Nepal, Energy, Trade, BBIN

February 2018

Video: Towards a Borderless World

This video showcases how innovations for trade facilitation have enabled businesses in the BBIN subregion to tap into regional value chains and flourish globally. More developments in facilitating trade and enhancing connectivity are planned and underway to help boost trade, enhance regional integration, and promote economic opportunities.

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Tags: BBIN, Transport, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal

February 2018

Bangladesh’s National Economic Council Gives Green Light to Establish Rail Connectivity with India, Bhutan, and Nepal

The Government of Bangladesh plans to convert around 67 kilometers of meter-gauge rail line into dual gauge to establish railway connectivity with Bhutan, India, and Nepal. This move could help boost trade among the three countries.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Rail, Transport

February 2018

Interview: Better Quality and Competitive Prices to Help Bangladesh Grab Nepal Market

Bangladesh is looking to expand the market share of its goods in Nepal. Ms. Mashfee Binte Shams, Bangladeshi Ambassador to Nepal, reviews the opportunities for Bangladesh manufacturers and explains what her country is doing to promote its products in Nepal. This interview of Ms. Shams, conducted by Ibrahim Hossain Ovi, first appeared on Dhaka Tribune.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Nepal, Exports, Imports, Trade Facilitation

February 2018

Eminent Persons Group Drafting New Blueprint for India-Nepal Relations

Eminent Persons Group including representatives from both India and Nepal exchanged the first draft reports on future India-Nepal relations during their seventh meeting in Kathmandu on 24 February 2018. It is likely that they will produce one joint final report during the next meeting in New Delhi that will be submitted to both governments before the group’s term expires in July.

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Tags: Connectivity, India, Nepal, Cooperation, Energy, Hydropower

February 2018

Bhutan, India Mark 50 Years of Bilateral Ties

The 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties between Bhutan and India is an occasion to reflect on further advancing ties between the two countries, said Ms. Sushma Swaraj, Minister of External Affairs, India. India is Bhutan’s largest trading partner and the two countries cooperate in the fields of transport and hydroelectric power.

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Tags: Bhutan, India, Cooperation, Hydropower, Trade, Energy

February 2018

Electricity Transmission in India Could Help Bangladesh Tap Nepal's Hydropower

Bangladesh's interest to harness Nepal's hydropower potential could be a win-win for both countries, with India playing the role of catalyst, shared Mr. Mostofa Sohrab Chowdhury, President, Rangpur Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Bangladesh's projected additional energy demand is 21,000 megawatts (MW) by 2030, while Nepal's untapped economically feasible hydropower potential is 42,000 MW.

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Tags: Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Cooperation, Energy, Hydropower, Transmission

February 2018

Paperless Trade Proposed for Facilitation of Nepal Trade via Vizag Port

A meeting between the Government of Nepal's Ministry of Commerce (MoC), Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), Visakhapatnam (Vizag) port authorities, and the Government of India discussed the possibility of implementing paperless trade procedures at Vizag port for Nepal’s third country trade. In follow up to this, the Government of Nepal also held a meeting with its stakeholders on 18 February 2018.

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Tags: India, Nepal, Paperless trade, Trade Facilitation, Ports

February 2018

India to Supply Additional 300 MW to Bangladesh

India will supply an additional 300 megawatts (MW) to Bangladesh through the state-run NTPC Ltd. This additional energy export will begin once the 500 MW high voltage direct current Bangladesh-India inter-connection is commissioned.

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Tags: India, Bangladesh, Energy

February 2018

Bangladesh and India Focus on Deepening Bilateral Trade in Commerce Secretary-level Talk

Bangladesh and India held a Commerce Secretary-level meeting on 7-8 February 2018 in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The discussions focused on issues concerning bilateral trade and economic relations, including infrastructure upgrading at border trading points; expansion of border haats (markets); identification and resolution of non-tariff issues affecting bilateral trade; regional connectivity under the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal Motor Vehicle Agreement; and ease of investment.

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Tags: Bangladesh, India, Bilateral Trade

February 2018

Governments of Nepal and India Prepare to Launch the ECTS Pilot Program

The Governments of Nepal and India are preparing to launch the Electronic Cargo Tracking System (ECTS) as soon as possible. It received the green light from Nepal's Council of Ministers in January 2018. The planned pilot will run for three months, covering cargo entering Nepal by rail in Birgunj and by road in Biratnagar and Bhairawa. ADB is supporting the piloting of the project through the SASEC Program.

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Tags: Nepal, ADB, SASEC, India, Transit Facilitation, Electronic Cargo Tracking System

February 2018

Commentary: The Missing Link

Deep integration is needed to generate economic growth in South Asia. By integrating trade in goods and services and transport facilities, South Asian countries will be able to better participate in global trade.

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Tags: Cooperation, South Asia, Trade, Transport, Economy

February 2018

Global Investors Summit Calls for Strengthening of ASEAN-South Asia Ties

Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal called for the strengthening of business and economic ties among ASEAN and South Asian countries. He noted the strong historic and cultural ties among the countries and urged Southeast Asian countries to take advantage of investment opportunities in Assam in northeast India.

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Tags: ASEAN, Act East Policy, South Asia

February 2018

Bhutan Keen on Importing More Medicines from Bangladesh

Bhutan Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay and Bangladesh Industries Minister Amir Hossain Amu discussed trade, connectivity, and investment on the sidelines of "Advantage Assam." Prime Minister Tobgay remarked on the increasing demand for Bangladeshi-made medicines in Bhutan and expressed its intention to import more.

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Tags: Bhutan, Bangladesh, Trade

February 2018

Bangladesh to Build Power Plant in India

Bangladesh will build a power plant in India under the Bangladesh-India Friendship Power Company. The planned power plant will be exporting electricity to Bangladesh.

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February 2018

Bhutan and Assam, India, Vow to Strengthen Bilateral Trade

Bhutan Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay and Assam, India, Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal met on 1 February 2018 to strengthen bilateral business relations between their respective countries.

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February 2018

Nepali Ginger Traders Tap Bangladeshi Market

Exporters from Nepal shipped over 35 truckloads of ginger to Bangladesh between mid-December 2017 to January 2018. This volume of ginger traded by Nepal to Bangladesh is the largest it has exported to a third country in over a decade. The Treaty of Transit between India and Nepal facilitates movement of Nepal's third country trade with and through Bangladesh, via India.

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Tags: Nepal, Bangladesh, Trade Facilitation

January 2018

Regional Cooperation to Give South Asia Access to Reliable Power

Speakers at the Nepal Power Investment Summit said subregional electricity trade could help South Asian countries achieve Sustainable Development Goals in energy. Nepal President Bidhya Devi Bhandari noted that investments in hydropower could help South Asia meet growing demand for reliable energy.

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January 2018

WCO Encourages Customs Administrations to Promote Secure Business Environments

In a message to commemorate International Customs Day 2018, Mr. Kunio Mikuriya, Secretary General, World Customs Organization (WCO), examines what it means to truly promote a secure business environment through Customs to foster participation in cross-border trade. He urges WCO and its members to contribute to building business environments that are enabling, safe, and fair and sustainable.

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Tags: Customs, WCO, Small and Medium Enterprises, Trade Facilitation Agreement, WTO

January 2018

Commentary: Energy Cooperation Stabilizing Region

Rapid economic growth and increasing populations pose challenges to the South Asian region’s energy security. Increasing energy cooperation among South Asian countries will help ensure access to affordable, reliable, and sustainable energy for the entire region.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, BBIN, BIMSTEC, Energy, Regional Cooperation, Hydropower, SAARC

January 2018

Delhi Declaration Reflects India and the ASEAN Region’s Commitment to Step Up Economic Cooperation

The Heads of State/Government of ASEAN Member States and the Republic of India gathered in New Delhi, India, to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of ASEAN-India Dialogue Relations. They issued the Delhi Declaration, which highlights key areas for future patnership between India and the ASEAN. It emphasized the need to boost trade between India and the ASEAN member countries by fully implementing the ASEAN-India Free Trade Area.

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January 2018

Prime Ministers of Singapore and India Laud ASEAN-India Strategic Partnership, Call for Greater Trade and Connectivity

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong called on member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and India to move the ASEAN-India dialogue partnership forward by increasing trade, economic cooperation, and connectivity. He remarked on the huge growth potential found in India and the ASEAN, and highlighted the importance of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership agreement that is currently being negotiated.

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January 2018

India Prioritizing the India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway

Mr. Nitin Gadkari, Minister of Road Transport & Highways, Government of India, noted that the project to build a 1,400 kilometer-long India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway is being given the highest priority by the Government. He added that the highway connecting India to Southeast Asia will be ready by December 2019.

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January 2018

Bhutan Moves Pipeline Hydropower Projects Forward

The Government of Bhutan is moving forward with Detailed Project Reports for pipeline hydropower projects in the country, including hydropower joint ventures with the Government of India. Bhutan aims to generate another 5,178 megawatts by 2025 from these pipeline projects, including the 1,125 MW Dorjilung project, 2,560 MW Sunkosh project, and 2,640 MW Kuri Gongri project.

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Tags: Bhutan, Hydropower, Energy, Electricity, India

January 2018

Women Entrepreneurs Look to SAARC Markets

South Asian Women Development Forum (SAWDF) will promote products by women entrepreneurs in markets in SAARC countries. A Women Entrepreneur International Trade and Technology Hub will be developed in Visakhapatnam, India, with ADB assistance. The Hub will serve as a one-stop platform for women entrepreneurs and provide training on international trade and business.

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Tags: ADB, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, SAARC, Sri Lanka, Trade

January 2018

SAFE Framework and AEO Programme to Secure Supply Chains in Sri Lanka

World Customs Organization, in cooperation with the China Customs Cooperation Fund, conducted a workshop to lay down a broad framework for Sri Lankan Customs to effectively implement the SAFE Framework and launch an AEO program.

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January 2018

Electronic Cargo Tracking System to Help Ease Transit of Nepal-bound Cargo

The Cabinet of Nepal has approved the modality of the Electronic Cargo Tracking System (ECTS). Following this, Nepal's Ministry of Commerce (MoC) has begun preparations for ECTS implementation with the assistance of ADB. Mr. Ravi Shanker Sainju, Joint Secretary, MoC, is hopeful that the ECTS will help control the turnaround time of shipping line containers, and significantly reduce the delay and cost of trade. He stressed that if Nepal can minimize time consumed in trade, cost of goods.

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Tags: ADB, Nepal, Electronic Cargo Tracking System, Customs, Trade

January 2018

Ludhiana, India, Organizes Authorized Economic Operator Workshop

Customs Cummisionerate, Ludhiana, India, organized an Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) Workshop in Sanhewal on 12 January 2018. Around 100 importers, exporters, and logistics officers from Punjab attended the workshop conducted by Delhi Customs.

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Tags: , Authorised Economic Operators, Customs, Ease of Doing Business, India, Trade Facilitation Agreement, WTO

January 2018

Land Border Crossing Agreement between India and Myanmar Approved

India's Union Cabinet has approved the Land Border Crossing Agreement between India and Myanmar. The Agreement will facilitate regulation and harmonization of already existing free movement rights for people in the border areas, as well as movement of people on the basis of valid passports and visas, encouraging economic and social interaction between the two countries.

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Tags: India, Myanmar, Trade

January 2018

Greetings from SASEC

The SASEC Secretariat wishes peace, prosperity, and joy to all this 2018.

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Tags: SASEC

January 2018

India's Ministry of Road Transport and Highways Highlights Activities from 2017

This news release from India's Ministry of Road Transport and Highways highlights the Ministry's achievements in 2017. Milestones achieved in the past year include launch of phase I of a wide-scale highway sector program to bridge critical infrastructure gaps through multimodal connectivity, the first Integrated Transport and Logistics Summit, and a Memorandum of Understanding between India and Nepal to construct a new bridge over Mechi river.

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