Mon 25 Feb 2013
Filed under: Business / Trade,News,Regional
The business communities of Bangladesh, China, India and Myanmar (BCIM) yesterday called for introducing a multimodal transport system and fast visa processing to enhance intra-regional trade.
“The multimodal transport system is necessary to explore new business corridors and opportunities,” said Umesh Chowdhary, vice-chairman and managing director of Titagarh Wagons, an Indian company.
“The cost of doing business between the BCIM countries increases when trade happens through the land borders,” he said, adding that India is working to launch a multimodal transport system with Myanmar.
Rokia Afzal Rahman, president of Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the BCIM countries can enhance their businesses manifold by using Bangladesh’s two ports — Chittagong and Mongla.
“This sub-region can be a potential business bloc,” she said, while urging India, China and Myanmar to come up with investments in Bangladesh, which has abundance of cheap labour.
Li Ana, senior staff member of Yunnan Branch of China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, emphasised the need for promoting connectivity between the regional connectivity to boost trade and investment.
The observations were made at the 11th BCIM Business Forum meeting, organised by the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) at the capital’s Bangabandhu International Conference Centre.
The two-day conference brings together some 50 analysts from BCIM countries, with the aim to boost intra-regional trade, investment and finance, multimodal connectivity, energy and institutional arrangements.
BCIM covers 9 percent of the world’s area, 40 percent of population and 7.3 percent of the global GDP, said Kazi Akram Uddin Ahmed, president of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI), in his keynote speech.
Trade between BCIM countries reached 4.5 percent in 2010, when it is over 35 percent between ASEAN countries, according to Ahmed.
Reduced cost of transportation and shorter lead time, however, is necessary to deepen cooperation in trade, commerce and investment, the FBCCI chief said.
“Developing transport connectivity, particularly multimodal system, is the key here,” Ahmed said, adding that opportunities of reaping benefits of good rail, water and road linkages within the region remain widely untapped.
Many businesspersons from the participating countries have echoed Chowdhury’s demand for a
BCIM Forum was initiated in 1999 in Kunming, as part of an initiative by the civil society organisations of the four countries to explore opportunities for mutually beneficial cooperation.
CPD works as the focal point in Bangladesh from the very inception of the initiative, which offers significant opportunities due to the presence of economic superpowers of China and India.