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Chennai, Oct. 8

INTRA-Asian trade today accounts for $625 billion, comprising 42 per cent of all exports from Asian countries. This is not commensurate with the potential that exists for trade flows among the Asian economies, the Chairman and Managing Director of Exim Bank of India, Mr Venkat Subramanian, has said.

Speaking at the 11th annual meeting of Asian Exim Banks, organised at Goa by The Forum of Asian Exim Banks, Mr Subramanian said intra-Asian trade was much lower than intra - EU and intra - NAFTA trade.

He also noted the sharp rise in India-China trade in the last few years, making China India's largest source of imports and third largest export destination.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Pratapsingh Rane, Chief Minister of Goa, hoped that the forum would suggest policies that would give fillip to economic growth in the larger context of intra-Asian economic cooperation.Dr Ashok Lahiri, Chief Economic Adviser to the Government of India, in his keynote address, cited the example of Asian Development Bank's initiative for the Greater Mekong Sub-region, in which six countries entered into a programme of sub-regional economic cooperation. Dr Lahiri also explained the Indian Government's initiatives, particularly the `Look East' policy, to forge stronger ties with the Asian economies for promoting trade and investment. Dr Nagesh Kumar, Director General, Research and Information System for the Non-Aligned and other Developing Countries, underscored the significance of regional cooperation among Asian countries,, as the region is home to the fastest emerging economies. Besides sub-regional initiatives in the framework of ASEAN and SAARC, broader economic integration initiatives are underway. Dr Kumar argued that there is a strong case for ASEAN, Japan, China, India and Korea working together to realise the Asian dream.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated October 9, 2005)
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