The trade links and ties between India and the CLMV countries

Need for India and CLMV countries to promote greater connectivity and economic integration with Regional Value Chains: Nirmala Sitharaman
According to Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman, Minister of State for Commerce & Industry (IC), Government of India “The trade links and ties between India and the CLMV countries can be much better, and the two governing principles, connectivity and economic integration with regional value chains are crucial.” The Minister was delivering the Keynote Address at the 3rd India – CLMV Business Conclave being organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in collaboration with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India, at Chennai today. The conference focused on the topic,” India – CLMV Economic Integration: Developing Regional Value Chains.” 

“India’s trade with the CLMV countries is over 11,000 million USD and there is immense potential.” The tri-lateral highway, connectivity in the North East, port connectivity improvement and the Act East policy are moves in that direction. The External Affairs study proves that there’s a huge potential of about 100billion USD dollars of additional export.

The Minister stated that there was a need for Indian banks to establish their branches overseas and the proposal of a Project development fund, an important instrument to handhold manufacturing units in the CLMV countries and duty free tariffs. While globally FDIs are falling, last year India had 38% growth in FDI, which shows the investors’ confidence in India. She also added that with the world economy falling, it will depend on CMLV countries and India for revival.

Mr. Sun Chanthol, Senior Minister, Minister of Commerce, Kingdom of Cambodia said, “It’s important to network and share best-practices and strengthen businesses ties between the countries. The trade investment between India and the ASEAN countries is crucial since the CLMV countries cover 32% of the ASEAN region and has a huge market for Indian products and with a 165 million strong population. This will attract considerable amount of FDI from India. It has an open investment regime and does not discriminate between foreign and local investors. It is investing heavily into its transport infrastructure.”

Mr. Somchinth Inthamith, Vice Minister of Industry and Commerce, Lao PDR, said, “ The investment between Laos and India is still insignificant. We are working on policy level changes in laws and regulations and open sky policies to facilitate trade. CLMV and India should work together to strengthen the strategic partnership to reduce the poverty. We are committed to make Laos a preferred destination.”

Mr. Pwint San, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Commerce, Myanmar, said, “Myanmar is trying to improve the trade policies and create attractive and investor-friendly policies. A new foreign investment law has been passed to attract more investors and the mass investment potential lies in the economic partnerships.”

“We are stepping up our stand in business collaborations and diplomatic cooperation between the CLMV countries and India. Knowledge sharing, simplifying laws and policies should be encouraged between countries to address commercial challenges.”

Mr. Nguyen Cam Tu, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Industry and Trade, Vietnam, said, ”We welcome India’s economic integration with the CLMV countries. India and CLMV need to strengthen economic integration through connectivity, infrastructure, and trade facilitations.We also aim to focus on the added advantage from sectors such as seafood, manufacturing, engineering, automobiles and chemicals.

In his address, Mr. Ravi Capoor, Joint Secretary, Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India stated that “The Ministry of Commerce has taken a huge step to launch the CLMV fund and is looking at large investments in these regions. We see problems in connectivity, banking, actual physical movement of people in trade and business collaborations. We are also looking at physical land connectivity to the CLMV countries through the North-East region.”

Ms. Shobana Kamineni, Vice-President, CII, and Executive Vice Chairperson, Apollo Hospitals Enterprise Limited, said, “Every business has opportunities to thrive and it would be a threat if we do not make use of the opportunities as growth elements. CLMV countries have been going on a major transformation inward and outward. We should aim to follow best-practices to enhance productivity in Agriculture, mining and minerals, oil and gas, infrastructure, Service sector (manpower, training, skilled-resources), SMEs, and opportunities for smaller business to engage and grow.

Earlier in his welcome address, Mr. Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General,CII stated that “This conference comes at an opportune time, with a slew of reforms announced by the Government of India. I firmly believe that India needs to deepen the relationship with the CLMV countries in sectors such as agriculture, mining, healthcare, and energy (hydro and solar energy).” He added that through this trade and business expansion millions of job opportunities will be opened up. 

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