GUWAHATI, Sept 12:Assam industries and commerce minister Chandra Mohan Patowary urged the Union government for a bilateral trade agreement with Bangladesh in line with the Indo-Sri Lankan Free Trade Agreement which will boost the bilateral trade through land route in Northeast.
Addressing a joint meeting of the Board of Trade and the Council of Trade Development and Promotion organised by the ministry of commerce and industry and the directorate general of foreign trade (DGFT) in New Delhi, Patowary said that the bilateral trade with BBIN and ASEAN countries has reached an all-time high, and therefore the trade between the North Eastern Region and neighbouring countries through the surface land route must be optimized. The meeting was chaired by Union commerce and industry minister, Piyush Goyal.
The minister also laid down in details the infrastructure facilities of the 4 Land Custom Stations (LCS) in Assam with Bangladesh and Bhutan may be upgraded Electronic Cargo Tracking System and Central Quarantine System may be provided to boost the trade and reduce the congestion at the land ports.
“The access of the Chittagong and Mongla Ports in Bangladesh to vessels of Northeast will boost up trade and commerce. This path-breaking initiative has fulfilled a long-pending requirement of the region,” Patowary said.
He also mentioned about the introduction of air cargo movement from Guwahati with direct flights to South and South East Asian cities under UDAN (International) and the construction of an air cargo terminal at Guwahati Airport.
Meanwhile, The Board of Trade sought views of various stakeholders such as government departments, states, exporters and industry members on ways to boost exports of goods and services. It may be mentioned that Minister of State for Commerce and Industry, Hardeep Singh Puri and Som Prakash, Commissioner and Secretary of Industries and Commerce Department, Dr. KK Dwivedi were also present in the meeting.