Narendra Modi-led BJP govt looks to give Saarc ties a trade boost

May 24 2014, 01:10 IST
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Currently, India runs a huge $15-bn trade surplus with other Saarc countries, with exports worth $17.5 bn. AP Currently, India runs a huge $15-bn trade surplus with other Saarc countries, with exports worth $17.5 bn. AP
SummaryCurrently, India runs a huge $15-bn trade surplus with other Saarc countries.

issues. In the pipeline is better connectivity between the Chittagong port (in Bangladesh) to Haldia and Vishakhapatnam ports in India to avoid the current routing of goods through Colombo and Singapore ports.

Also, plans are afoot to exploit the potential of wind power in Sri Lanka, estimated at 20,000 MW, by linking this to a bigger grid to be exported to India and exported back when there is a fall in wind power generation there.

Besides, on the cards is a Cabinet note to increase the usage of the interest subvention for project exports through EXIM Bank of India for Saarc countries. This is linked to the Buyer’s Credit Scheme and is being implemented through EXIM Bank, ECGC and the National Export Insurance Account. It is aimed at providing long term concessional credit through EXIM Bank, as co-financing in infrastructure sectors.

On the trade front, India already has a granted duty-free-quota-free access to all least developed countries in Saarc (barring Pakistan and Sri Lanka) to the Indian market. Efforts are also on to expedite the completion of negotiations for a Saarc Agreement on Trade in Services.

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