Meghalaya CM inaugurates UN workshop for promoting trade among southeast Asian nations

Meghalaya CM inaugurates UN workshop for promoting trade among southeast Asian nations

Shillong, Nov 22 (PTI) Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma on Wednesday inaugurated the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) Subregional Capacity Building Workshop for Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN) Connectivity here.

UNESCAP was established to increase economic activity in Asia and East Asia, as well as to foster economic relations between the region and other areas of the world.

Delivering the inaugural address, Sangma said that connectivity of the northeast region of India to east and southeastern Asian countries is one of the most important agendas of the government.

'History suggests that there was a lot of trade between these regions pre-Independence and there is a huge potential of trade and connectivity in this region. We need to fix all the barriers that have stopped the trade and connection,' he said.

The chief minister reiterated that there cannot be a generic Act East Policy.

'I have been advocating from the very beginning that Act East Policy has to be zoned. We need to have specific zone-wise strategies to be able to take the Act East Policy forward,' he said.

Simplifying policies so that people do not face difficulties in carrying out trade, making use of existing infrastructure like Integrated Check Posts, and improving road connectivity at the borders are fruits that will make a difference, he said.

The chief minister also said that such interactions between countries will help in assessing and resolving issues. Director, South and Southwest Asia Sub-Regional Office, Mikiko Tanaka, said Meghalaya's geographical location in the BBIN and the momentum at which the state is accelerating trade and development are the perfect setting to host the workshop to promote connectivity.

She said that the workshop is part of ESCAP's mandated work programme to support the improvement of cross-border connectivity in the Asia-Pacific region. PTI JOP NN

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