Dimapur, November 29: ‘Nagaland International Trade Expo’ concluded on terms of boosting trade with neighbouring countries. The panel discussion ended on the note that it is possible and viable for Nagaland and the people of the state to trade with the neighbouring countries and it need to be encouraged.
To this effect the general understanding of the entire panelist at the discussion was that the stakeholder states of the region need to work more closely collaborate and leverage on each other’s best practices.
The discussion focussed on trade with the neighbouring countries that are part of the Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN) sub region quadrangle on the backdrop that the Northeast borders 98% of India’s international boundaries and given its strategic location, the region is said to develop as a base of one of India’s growing economic links not only with the ASEAN countries but also with these countries.
Bhanu Pratap Singh, CEO, North East Foundation (NEF) and OSD to the Government of Meghalaya said that though the opportunities were difficult in the state, it was not impossible to achieve them. He cited many opportunities Nagaland possesses in terms of trade such as the proximity it has to Myanmar and Bangladesh. Commodities like Naga king chilly, khollar, large cardamom, pineapple, ginger, passion fruit and wild apple are all available easily can be exported. Exporting these items will create a big market with premium prices apart from the absence of the middlemen thus creating more opportunities.
Kesang Wangdi, Deputy Secretary General, Bhutan chamber of Commerce and Industry spoke on the business prospect of Nagaland for import and export with Bhutan keeping in mind the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) objective is to promote economy entrepreneurship in the region. He also provided an insight on the handholding that his government provides in Bhutan to entrepreneurs and business houses.
In the region the main markets being India, Bangladesh, and Nepal and Wangdi stated that there are huge opportunities for business in Bhutan. Citing the stable government and the free hand to the entrepreneur to do business, Bhutan can be a good prospect for import and export in the sub region, Wangdi said.
RC Aggarwal, the President of the North East Federation on International Trade highlighted some problem areas which can be addressed collectively. He stated that the states in Northeast can come together and collectively apprise the government on policy matters so ease the process of trading from the region.
Discussion also revolved over challenges that hamper trade in the Northeast region such as air and road connectivity, infrastructure like roads, electricity, storage facilities, lack of packaging units, lack of testing labs, lack of information and lack of trade advisory bodies. The volatile political situations like bandhs and economic blockades were all cited to be hindrances in trade. Goswami also suggested that Nagaland should preserve its flora and fauna by focussing on smaller industries and not large scaled ones. The BBIN markets should be the focus of the young entrepreneurs in the region, he iterated.