MU hosts seminar on ‘Exploring ASEAN market for NE products’, May 29, 2009
A two-day seminar on ‘Exploring ASEAN market for Northeast products’ as a part of joint project of UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) began here today.

”Mizoram University (MU) hosts the seminar to analyse the economic potential of the Northeast in the context of India’s growing commercial relation with ASEAN,” Dr Vanlalchhawna, seminar co-coordinator told UNI here.

The main objectives of the seminar are to explore the ASEAN market for existing product from North-Eastern states, identify potential products which require value addition to export for ASEAN market, examine availability of connectivity and infrastructure- air, surface and sea, IT based availability of trans-border network and other logistics including trade facilitation measures and to identify existing constraints and bottlenecks for trade and development in the region, he said.

Although positive trends are emerging in economic relations, the volume of trade and investment remains low. India accounts for less than 2.0 per cent of ASEAN’s total trade and 0.2 per cent of FDI in the region. ASEAN share in India’s total trade is around 10 per cent.

Acknowledging this trend and recognising the economic potentials of closer linkages, both sides recognised the opportunities for deepening trade and investment ties, and agreed to sign a framework agreement to pave the way for the establishment of an ASEAN-India Free Trade Area, Dr Vanlalchhawna said.

Linking North-Eastern states of India with dynamic ASEAN countries promises vast economic opportunities and benefits including deepening of social and cultural ties between the people of North-Eastern states of India and its neighbouring areas.

Market integration of the land-locked Northeast with Southeast and East Asian countries would boost trade thus serving as a driver of rapid economic development in the region.

The seminar will mainly focus on how the Northeast would benefit from the Look East policy, which aims trade with the Southeast Asian countries, Dr Vanlalchhawna said.

The seminar is being attended by about 30 experts from USA, Bhutan and reputed institutes in India such as RBI, IIM Ahmedabad, IIFT New Delhi, CUTS International Jaipur and different universities, IITs and colleges in the Northeast region.

Fund for the seminar comes mainly from UNCTAD, he informed.

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