News List

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

Year:
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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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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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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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, and discuss

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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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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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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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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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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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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

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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