ICC’s BIMSTEC Business Conclave Raised Hope for Better Regional Trade & Co-operation

BIMSTEC Business Conclave 2023 hosted by Indian Chamber of Commerce concluded with Valedictory Session on 15th June at Hyatt Regency Kolkata. The Business Conclave turned out as a very successful and cooperative gathering of important players from the BIMSTEC area. The closing ceremony provided a platform for reflection on the accomplishments, results, and potential of the BIMSTEC Nation members’ efforts. The BIMSTEC gathering highlighted the region’s enormous potential for collaboration and economic development. High-ranking government representatives, business titans, innovators, and specialists from member states attended the event, which promoted fruitful debates, knowledge exchange, and cross-sector cooperation. Many esteemed dignitaries like Dr. Rajeev Singh, Director General, Indian Chamber of Commerce, Ms Tashi Wangmo, Secretary, Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Employment, Government of Bhutan, H.E. Mr. Moe Kyaw Aung, Ambassador of Myanmar to India, Mr. Aung Naing, Hon’ble Minister of Commerce, Government of Myanmar, Mr Mehul Mohanka, President, Indian Chamber of Commerce, Dr. Rajkumar Ranjan Singh, Hon’ble Minister of State for External Affairs & Education, Govt. of India, H. E. Mr Tenzin Lekphell, Secretary General, BIMSTEC Secretariat and Ms Acharapan Yavaprapas, Consul-General of Thailand in Kolkata attended the closing ceremony.

Delegates from BIMSTEC nations at the Conclave

Mr. Mehul Mohanka, President, Indian Chamber of Commerce, said, “BIMSTEC is a connection between South Asia and South-East Asia. Given the context of multiple geopolitical crises in various regions of Asia, it is clear that the notion of a new regional economy requires substantial populational integration. The moment has come for the South and South-East to rise, and BIMSTEC cooperation in this area should be developed. We have done our best efforts through this conclave, an exposition, to provide venues for commercial interactions between buyers and sellers.”

H.E. Ms Acharapan Yavaprapas, Consul-General of Thailand in Kolkata, said, “To realise the benefits of its potential, we must regard BIMSTEC as a platform for forming collaboration and partnership for the future of others. To become more open, we will value our rich socio-cultural connections, which will favour people-to-people communication among BIMSTEC nations. In conclusion, Thailand is sure that BIMSTEC will continue to be a powerful platform for all member nations to benefit from in order to achieve an equippable economic objective.”

H.E. Mr Andalib Elias, Deputy High Commissioner for Bangladesh, Kolkata, said, “Bangladesh is a firm believer in the potential of connectedness and human-to-human interaction. Bangladesh has previously indicated interest in joining the tri-national India-Myanmar-Thailand or INT Highway, which may of course play a significant role in the efficient flow of raw materials and goods throughout the area. Dear colleagues, our unwavering dedication to BIMSTEC’s strength is once again firmly demonstrated. We will engage with the ICC to continue the conversations held at this business conclave in the recent past, and we will try to achieve the aims and goals articulated in these sessions.”

Ms. Tashi Wangmo, Secretary, Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Employment, Government of Bhutan, said, “I can attest that this business conclave surely exceeded everyone’s expectations. We all recognise that there is a significant gap between what we can do together as BIMSTEC states and where we are presently as sovereign entities. Similarly, several of my other businesses have mentioned that they were able to connect with other business partners in order to advertise their products. What I’m trying to emphasise here is how we are putting words into action, which is critical at this time. Such corporate conclaves should be held more frequently. It was a strong indication that the three-day BIMSTEC summit was a huge success.”

H.E. Mr. Moe Kyaw Aung, Ambassador of Myanmar to India, said, ” The problems stated at this event are undeniably important for promoting inter-regional commerce and investment in the post-pandemic age and at a moment of global economic recession. It is an interregional company programme that brings together South Asia and Southeast Asia. BIMSTEC is growing as a major economic force in both the Asian and global economies. The goals of BIMSTEC range from the promotion of economic and social prosperity based on equality to the improvement of reciprocal advantages in the economic, social, and technical realms. Friendship between India and Myanmar has become stronger. Finally, I would like to thank the ICC and the Ministry of External Affairs of the Government of India for organising this summit, and I wish them all the best in their future initiatives.”

H. E. Mr Tenzin Lekphell, Secretary General, BIMSTEC Secretariat, said, “This event brings together many stakeholders from various backgrounds, notably from the commercial sector, to boost business partnership and idea exchange. An event of this kind was much required, and I applaud the Indian Chamber of Commerce for taking the initiative. BIMSTEC has been going forward and achieving advances in several disciplines since 1997. Concerning the topic or objective of this conclave, which is to improve BIMSTEC business and increase inter-regional commerce, I would like to point out that trade and investment are the founding purposes of BIMSTEC.”

Dr. Rajkumar Ranjan Singh, Hon’ble Minister of State for External Affairs & Education, Govt. of India, said, “The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) Business Conclave 2023 has brought together some of the finest minds and active entrepreneurs from BIMSTEC member nations. As the Minister of State for External Affairs and Education for the Government of India, I deliver my deepest appreciation to all of you for your active engagement in making this conclave a resounding success. This conclave has given us a great platform for strengthening relationships, improving collaboration, and capitalising on the countless opportunities that lie within our common boundaries. It has acted as a catalyst for regional economic integration, paving the way for deeper relationships, trade, and investment in the coming years.”

Mr. Aung Naing, Hon’ble Minister of Commerce, Government of Myanmar, said, “It is with great honour and pleasure that I stand before you today as the Honourable Minister of Commerce for the Government of Myanmar, representing the vibrant nation that has embraced the spirit of regional cooperation and economic integration. Myanmar, as a proud member of BIMSTEC, understands the importance of regional economic integration in achieving long-term growth. Our country, with its abundant resources, strategic position, and qualified people, is poised to play a critical part in this process.”

While delivering the vote of thanks, Mr. Rajeev Singh, Dr. Rajeev Singh, Director General, Indian Chamber of Commerce, said “Some BIMSTEC sessions went far and wide, they approved resolutions and want specific things to happen, chambers and businesses are willing to play an important part in taking the lead, and I will only mention a few. I believe that free movement of people, goods, and tourists is critical, so there is an idea to have at least one year of BIMSTEC Travel pass, so that the movement of people, tourists, and businessmen becomes easier. Of course, governments must make the final decision, but businesses and travellers alike believe that a one-year travel pass would make a lot of sense and would improve people-to-people connections. The second concept was that FTA would take some time to develop since each country must secure its own industry, trade, and MSMEs. Certain areas of trade procedures and trade documentation can be simplified, and digitisation is one simple step. That may be taken up since India has already utilised it efficiently, so FTA is clearly something that the sector wants and will help build, but we must go gradually and with digitisation. Removing non-tariff obstacles, establishing testing labs at crossings, and increasing the product list for exports are just a few examples of how border infrastructure may be improved. All of the chambers agreed that, while there is a business forum, meaningful commercial activity will only occur if additional chambers become actively involved. This BIMSTEC business meet, I would say, was a successful model in which several chambers from various nations joined hands, and we all joined hands as partners, and we were able to create a meaningful engagement.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *