CM Sarma attends NE buyer-seller meet, vows to rework on custom tariff
Guwahati, Rongili Barta : Northeast can play a pivotal role in strengthening Indo-ASEAN and Indo-BBN relationship not only as a means of being gateway to southeast Asian nations but as a springboard to facilitate bilateral trades and commerce with these countries, commented Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, while attending the second NE buyer-seller meet in the city on Thursday. Sarma also added that the region has the potential to act as the springboard for the emergence of trade & commerce with the southeast Asian countries. He also stated that the long international borders that the region shares with southeast Asian and BBN countries (including China) gives it a unique geographical advantage for being a catalyst for the development of trade & commerce with these countries. Presenting Assam before the international delegates, Sarma said that the State is the largest economy in the north-eastern part of India. Assam has the reputation of being an industrial State because of its prolific tea, oil, coal, and tourism industry. Assam is one of the biodiversity hotspots of the country with its 312 notified reserve forests, five national parks and 20 wildlife sanctuaries. Taking into consideration its well-established petro-chemical industry, Assam can take the lead in producing green plastics which are in huge demand in the markets of developed countries. He also revealed that Assam is a home to some of the rarest wildlife species in the world along with rich flora & fauna which offer immense scope for wildlife tourism and investment. Highlighting that the State’s organic products like ginger, lemon, bhut jolokia, red rice, black rice, joha, pineapple, orange, jackfruit, banana, etc have huge export potential, Sarma asserted that the improved connectivity between India and southeast Asian nations has benefitted the region greatly. He added that the bilateral & multilateral connectivity initiatives like the trilateral highway that goes from India to Thailand (via Myanmar) has given rise to a new hope. He also disclosed that the survey & planning work on the Imphal-Moreh railway line is underway. Setting up of the northeast economic corridor (connecting markets in Bangladesh and ASEAN members) is also contemplated to give a fillip to trade & commerce. Pointing to the illegal movement of goods from across the border, Sarma advocated for reworking on the custom tariff system for the mutual development of all. In presence of Union minister Rajkumar Ranjan Singh, NEC member AK Gogoi and others, Sarma thanked Indian Chamber of Commerce and Union external affairs ministry for organising the meet which was organised focussing on Bangladesh, Bhutan, Thailand, Laos, etc. The meet is expected to be a way forward towards reviving the age .