Need to export products to Myanmar: Biswajit
IMPHAL, 7th Oct: Observing that the border trade between India and Myanmar is mostly benefiting Myanmar only; textiles, commerce and industries minister Th Biswajit has stressed the need to produce more products and export them to Myanmar for reaping more benefits from the trade agreement.
The minister was attending a joint meeting with representatives of Border Trade Chamber of Commerce (BTCC), Moreh at his official residence here on Monday afternoon. A 14-member team of BTCC led by its president V Shekhar, who is also the president of Tamil Sangam Moreh, attended the meeting.
During the meeting, BTCC members brought up the import duty levied on betel nut, which has been increased from 4 per cent to 40 per cent since January 2017 and its impact on the border trade. They also cited the policy adopted by the Sri Lankan government over betel nut wherein the import duty has been reduced from 40 per cent to 6 per cent.
The BTCC team also stressed the need for Free Trade Agreement between India and Myanmar in order to draw maximum benefit from the cross border trade.
In response, the minister observed that the existing border trade is providing maximum benefits to Myanmar only and stressed the need for increasing export of other items from the country to grab the benefits. Mangoes, tree beans and fishes are being imported from Myanmar, which could be addressed through promotion of farmers in the state. The minister said that the state government is aware of the situation and is chalking out policies to encourage more and more entrepreneurs in the state to come up with export quality products.
He also highlighted the revival of industrial estates at Kuraopokpi and Tera Urak following which production has begun by different entrepreneurs. Many entrepreneurs are applying for work shed spaces in these estates but it has become beyond the capacity today, he informed.
Stating that the state government had urged the Centre to improve border trade on numerous occasions, the minister asked the BTCC team to jointly pursue the matter with the commerce and industry ministry. Biswajit also stressed the importance of fully functional integrated check post, e-visa facility, better banking infrastructure, full-fledged FOREX money exchange, and export import financial transaction facility in Moreh town for promoting the border trade.
He then asked the team to submit their appeals in written while assuring to do the needful.