IMPHAL, 12th Sep: Commerce and industries minister Thongam Biswajit has urged union minister for commerce and industries Piyush Goyal to set up e-visa facility at Integrated Check Post (ICP) Moreh so as to improve border trade and also extend financial support in the construction of a logistic park in the state.
Biswajit drew attention of the union minister while speaking at the Board of Trade meeting hosted by director general of foreign trade, ministry of commerce and industries at Ashoka Hotel, New Delhi on Thursday.
The meet discussed the setbacks faced by different states and UTs in improving trade and commerce. Commerce and industries ministers and administrative secretaries of different states and UTs participated in the meeting.
During the meeting, Biswajit maintained that border trade in Manipur has seen a new upscale trend after the opening of land port between India and Myanmar at Moreh under Act East Policy in 2018. South East Asia has 43 per cent of the total population of the world and 22 per cent are in China, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam and Thailand while the remaining 21 per cent are in the South Asian countries. Manipur being India’s doorway to the South East Asian countries, border trade would be a viable economic activity in the state, he said. Regarding the border trade between India and Myanmar, the minister said that the border trade began on April 22, 1995 following an agreement signed on January 21, 1994. Unfortunately, a notification of the Centre in 2015 had cancelled the 40 per cent tariff concession that the border trade used to enjoy in the past, he pointed out, while drawing attention of the minister to reinstate the 40 per cent tariff concession considering the importance of the border trade in improving economy of the state.
He also urged the union minister to instruct RBI to improve banking infrastructure in the border town and ensure additional facilities for export-import financial transaction. He also stressed the need for setting up Forex full-fledged money changer facility in the border town in order to improve international trade in the state.
Biswajit further told the gathering that products of third countries like Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, China and Cambodia are popular among the people of the states in the country. Lack of transit permit/transit duty facilities increases illegal trade in the state, he said while urging for setting up the facility in the border town which will improve not only border trade but also people-to-people contact between the neighbouring countries. He also drew attention of the union minister on the shortfalls in terms of trade and healthcare facilities in the border town.
On the other hand, the state government is putting efforts for setting up a logistic park and has identified the location. However, it would be a tough situation for the state alone to set up the logistic park, he said and urged the union minister to extend financial support in setting up the facility while adding that it will help in improving industrialization in the state.
Biswajit also urged the union minister to expedite the construction of border haats at New Somtal in Chandel and Behiang in Churadhandpur district. Principal secretary of textiles, commerce and industries, government of Manipur P Vaiphei also attended the meet.
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