CUTS holds dialogue to encourage cross-border trade between Bangladesh, Bhutan and India

KNN India, September 30, 2021

Consumer Unity & Trust Society International (CUTS) organised Multi-stakeholder Dialogue in Guwahati to promote Cross-border trade through trans-boundary waterways between Bangladesh, Bhutan and India.

The experts at the event opined that participation of private sector operating small businesses and people in cross-border trade and transportation through inland waterways is necessary for sustainable development.

It’s imperative to involve farmers, local traders, women, youth, non-government organizations and local indigenous communities in trade, navigation and cross-border transportation to reduce socio-economic and environmental concerns related to inland waterways, said the experts at the programme.

There should be balanced economic needs, social needs and environmental needs, said Bipul Chatterjee, Executive Director, CUTS International while welcoming the participants. He further stated that the idea is to come up with clear policy messages to enhance policy and regulations and increase the participation of local communities in decision making processes related to inland waterways connectivity.

Biswajit Chakraborty, Director, North-East Advisory Council, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry said that connectivity related initiatives are extremely important for the economy of the north-east region to grow. For river transport it is important that there should be some amount of certainty, efficiency and predictability. That can only happen when there is an active participation of the private sector.

While delivering a Special Address, Shah Mohammad Tanvir Monsur, Bangladesh Assistant High Commissioner, Guwahati, Assam said that before participation north-east India was connected with the rest of India through riverways of Bangladesh. Now inland waterways connectivity related initiatives are taking momentum again.

He further said that government agencies and people should realize the benefits of sub-regional connectivity through inland waterways. He raised the issue of a very low level of trade between Bangladesh and India’s north-eastern states despite high trade potential in many products. He said that connectivity cannot be implemented all of a sudden thus first important ports and major trading centres needs to be linked.

Authorities from all the three countries shared the significance of cross-border trade and transportation fostering economic growth.

The event was organised by CUTS International in collaboration with Oxfam and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).The dialogue was attended by more than 50 high-profile dignitaries and stakeholders from Bangladesh, Bhutan and various parts of India.

The dialogue is an initiative as a part of a regional programme titled “Trans-boundary Rivers of South Asia” (TROSA), which is supported by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), managed by Oxfam and implemented by CUTS International.

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