Assam Industries and Commerce minister Chandra Mohan Patowary stressed for setting up of an industrial corridor connecting Assam with the ASEAN.

While attending the second meeting of Council of Trade Development and Promotion at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi, the Assam minister stated that Assam’s strategic location with the ASEAN needs to be tapped and India should build it’s business relations with the ASEAN and SAARC countries though the Northeast.

“After liberalization, the earlier notion of remoteness and land-locked condition of the state has turned it into an advantageous position as Assam is now viewed as being strategically located in between the mainland of India and the vibrant economy of ASEAN and SAARC countries. It is no more the periphery, but the centre stage of South East Asia’s 11 countries having a combined GDP of $ 1.9 trillion. Therefore, it is imperative that there is free flow of trade and commerce with our immediate neighbours and even beyond,” the minister said.

Minister Patowary further stated, “Time has come for creation of an industrial corridor starting from Guwahati to Mandalay which would make the entire place a production hub for ASEAN markets.”

North East Industrial and Investment Promotion Policy (NEIIPP) has a major role to play to encourage manufacturing in this region. The minister urged the Union minister for Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman to announce the new NEIIPP by April 1, 2017 when the present policy expires.

Patowary urged the Indian government to allow more items to be exported and imported to and from Bangladesh through the Golokganj Land Custom Station (LCS). Presently coal, stone and stone boulder are exported through this point. “This will help to reduce the informal trade along the Border as well as other disturbances”, the minister added.

Patowary also requested the Centre to engage institutions like Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT), Federation of India Export Organization (FIEO), National Institute of Design (NID), Indian Institute of Packaging (IIP), etc. to provide training as well as handholding for the 1st generation exporters of Assam.

The Assam minister also asked the government to set up consulates of the ASEAN countries in Guwahati to facilitate visa procedures. He requested to the Centre to open an Oriental Study Centre in Guwahati to work in the field of language learning, dissemination of trade information which would help to interact with the ASEAN countries and overcome the language barrier.

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