Myanmar wants to expand G2G trade basket with India

Kolkata: Myanmar is committed to enhancing bilateral ties and wants to expand the G2G trade basket with inclusion of more agro items such as green mung beans, a minister from the southeast Asian country said.

The government-to-government (G2G) memorandum of understanding on trade cooperation for urad and tur pulses, signed in June 2021, has been “very successful”, Myanmar minister of Commerce Aung Naing Oo told PTI in an interaction during his visit to Kolkata earlier this month.

“It (the MoU) is not just the success of two governments, it is the success of people of both sides,” he said.

Naing Oo also hoped that both countries will be able to expand their trade basket under the G2G MoU by including green mung beans and more pulses.

According to the MoU, Myanmar can export 250,000 tonne of urad and 1,00,000 tonne of tur to India annually from the 2021-22 fiscal to 2025-26 financial year.

Pulses and beans are among Myanmar’s major export items to India.

The southeast Asian country is “committed to enhancing bilateral ties” and engagements through meetings of the India-Myanmar Joint Trade Committee, Joint Border Trade Committee and other events, Naing Oo said.

Myanmar is encouraging bilateral trade settlement in local currencies with India, he said.

“We are also diversifying the use of the currencies of neighbouring countries in trade, and the Central Bank of Myanmar has been working closely with its counterpart in India for being able to use the rupee and the kyat (currency of Myanmar) in our bilateral trade,” the Myanmar commerce minister told PTI.

The Myanmar government had reportedly intended to initiate the currency convertibility for the Indian rupee for trade along the border it shares with India, following the southeast Asian country’s agreement to deal in Thai baht with neighbours and the kyat-baht initiative for border trade with China.

Notably, the Centre allowed international trade settlements in Indian rupees for export promotion schemes under the Foreign Trade Policy.

Myanmar is aware of the “Act East” and “Neighborhood First” Policies of India and is ready to join hands for promoting trade, investment, and all other key sectors for the benefit of the people on both sides, Naing Oo said.

He also stated that potential areas include agriculture, agro-processing, agrochemicals, oil and gas, energy, healthcare, information technology, skill development, and textiles.

The minister also said projects such as the Kaladan Multi-Modal Transit Transport will create a route for the shipment of cargo from Kolkata to Myanmar as well as to the northeastern region of India through Mizoram.

The project will link Kolkata with Sittwe port in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, spanning over 500 km.

Myanmar supports the successful completion of negotiation for the coastal shipping agreement, which will help Indian vessels access Mizoram through Sittwe Port on the Bay of Bengal and the Kaladan River multi-modal link between South East Asia and South Asia, according to the minister.

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