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Connectivity, cooperation to boost India-CLMV ties: Nirmala

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Better connectivity and enhanced economic integration with regional value chains are crucial for India and the CLMV countries, the four south east Asian nations, to boost two-way trade and commerce, Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said today.

She said that India's trade with the CLMV (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam) countries is over USD 11 billion and there is immense potential to increase it further.

"The trade links and ties between India and the CLMV countries can be much better and the two governing principles, connectivity and economic integration with regional value chains are crucial," she said.

She was speaking at the 3rd India-CLMV Business Conclave at Chennai.

The tri-lateral highway, connectivity in the North East, port connectivity improvement and the Act East policy would help in increasing economic ties between the two regions, an official statement quoting the minister said.

As per a study, there is a potential of about USD 100 billion of additional exports.

She also said that there was a need for Indian banks to establish their branches overseas and the proposal of a project development fund is an important instrument to handhold manufacturing units in the CLMV countries.

With the world economy falling, it will depend on CMLV countries and India for the revival, she added.

Addressing the event Joint Secretary in the Commerce Ministry Ravi Capoor said India is looking at large investments in these regions.

"We see problems in connectivity, banking, actual physical movement of people in trade and business collaborations. We are also looking at physical land connectivity to the CLMV countries through the North-East region," Capoor said.

Speaking at the function, Combodian Minister Sun Chanthol said it is important to share the best-practices and strengthen businesses ties between the countries.

The trade investment between India and the ASEAN countries are crucial since the CLMV countries cover 32 per cent of the ASEAN region and has a huge market for Indian products and with a 165 million strong population, Chanthol said.

"This will attract considerable amount of FDI from India. It has an open investment regime and does not discriminate between foreign and local investors. It is investing heavily into its transport infrastructure," the Cambodian Minister added.

Laos Vice Minister of Industry and Commerce Somchinth Inthamith said the investment between Laos and India is still insignificant.

"We are working on policy level changes in laws and regulations and open sky policies to facilitate trade. CLMV and India should work together to strengthen the strategic partnership to reduce the poverty," Inthamith said.

Deputy Commerce Minister of Myanmar, Pwint San said: "We

are stepping up our stand in business collaborations and diplomatic cooperation between the CLMV countries and India. Knowledge sharing, simplifying laws and policies should be encouraged between countries to address commercial challenges."

Deputy Minister, Ministry of Industry and Trade, Vietnam, Nguyen Cam Tu too said that India and CLMV need to strengthen economic integration through connectivity, infrastructure, and trade facilitations.

"We also aim to focus on the added advantage from sectors such as seafood, manufacturing, engineering, automobiles and chemicals," Nguyen added.

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First Published: Wed, January 13 2016. 20:49 IST