Trade & Investment

This Sector is led by Bangladesh

Since there is significant potential of increasing intra-BIMSTEC trade, increased economic cooperation among member countries will definitely contribute to expansion of trade and investment flows in the region. A Task Force was constituted to review the sectors and sub-sectors of economic cooperation by the decision of the STEOM and the Trade Ministers in their meeting held in January 2004 in Bangkok. The Task Force decision which finalized in January 2005 is to restructuring Trade and Investment Sector into 3 main Sub-sector.

At present, this sector is divided into two categories as follows;

Goods and Services consisting of 8 sub-sectors

  1. Textile & Clothing - Bangladesh
  2. Drugs & Pharmaceuticals -India
  3. Gem & Jewelry - Sri Lanka
  4. Horticulture and Floriculture products - Thailand
  5. Processed Foods - Sri Lanka
  6. Automotive Industry & Part - Thailand
  7. Rubber, Tea & Coffee - Thailand
  8. Coconut and Spices – India

Trade and Service facilitation consisting of 7 sub-sectors

  1. Custom Service
  2. Banking Arrangements
  3. Standards & Conformity
  4. Intellectual Property
  5. Standard of Goods
  6. E-BIMSTEC
  7. Business Travel Facility

However, concerns were raised by the private sectors at the Economic Forum that trade within BIMSTEC region still remains low in comparison to the value of trade the group has with the rest of the world. This could partly be attributed to the inappropriate division of sectors and sub-sectors of cooperation under the current global circumstances.

Within this sector, Thailand has proposed the establishment of the BIMSTEC Free Trade Area (FTA), of which the negotiation is now underway. This sector of cooperation is noted to be under the supervision of STEOM and TEMM.

Sub-Sectors

  1. Trade in Goods
  2. Trade in Services
  3. Trade in Investment

Meetings/Reports

Business Forum and Economic Forum:are the 2 forums under the Trade and Economic Senior Officials' Meeting (STEOM)  that allow active participation of the private sector. In the Business Forum, private sector representatives from the BIMSTEC member countries will meet and discuss various issues. Results from the Business Forum will be forwarded to Economic Forum where the private sector will have an opportunity to discuss freely with representatives from the public sector from the member countries. The Economic Forum will then report outcomes of its meetings to the STEOM. The last Forum was held in New Delhi.

The outcomes of the meeting are described as below:

  1. Economic Forum Meetings
  2. Business Forum Meetings

FOCAL POINTS