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Wednesday, Feb 04, 2004

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South Asian forum chalks out strategies to boost ties

Richa Mishra

New Delhi , Feb. 3

THE South Asian Business Forum (SABF) has chalked out strategies to boost economic co-operation in the South Asian Sub-Region in view of a compulsive need to integrate the local economies, manpower and infrastructure of India, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Nepal, Mr Y.K. Modi, President, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), has said.

To understand the requirement of the various trading countries, at the recent meeting of the Trade, Investment and Private Sector Working Group (TIPWG) of South Asia Sub-Regional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) region, projects were assigned to the four apex chambers — Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Bhutan Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry and FICCI — in partnership with respective governments and the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Mr Modi said.

Elaborating on the respective projects assigned to different countries, Mr Modi said Bangladesh would be working on mutual recognition of manufacturing process — need for harmonisation of standards and testing procedures and manufacturing processes. Bhutan has been assigned the task of making a report on sharing common facilities in the SASEC region and Nepal would be working an affirmative action for land locked countries.

India has to work on simplification of custom procedures and harmonisation of trade documents.

"All the countries would complete the project assigned to them by end of July," he told Business Line. On funding of the projects, Mr Modi said, "These studies are going to be partly funded by the apex chambers and the governments and partly by the ADB."

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