NEW DELHI: The implementation of Free Trade Agreement can help the intra-BIMSTEC trade grow up to USD 240 billion from the current estimated USD 40 billion, said a senior official of the seven-member bloc that includes India.
The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) is a regional economic bloc comprising seven member States lying in the littoral and adjacent areas of the Bay of Bengal constituting a contiguous regional unity.
The group formed in 1997 consists of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Thailand.
“That is the potential and it would be much easier to go to that potential,” M Shahidul Islam, Secretary-General of BIMSTEC said, citing a think tank’s report that intra-BIMSTEC trade can grow up to USD 240 billion from the current estimated USD 40 billion.
He said that India has given its opinion on the revised FTA whose draft was ready in 2015 but has been revisited on call from some member Countries.
Islam said that there were plans that the agreements would be signed next year.