Sonowal assures consistent execution of the Act East Policy

While attending the stakeholder meeting of the Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port, the Union Minister for Ports, Shipping and Waterways – Sarbananda Sonowal – said that the there is a greater degree of cooperation needed from the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multilateralism (BBINM) countries to help the region achieve maximum growth and development when it comes to maritime sector. He also said that the government remains deeply committed to the Act East Policy.

The Government of India’s launched its Act East Policy back in 2014 to strengthen trade ties and enhance connectivity with the Southeast Asian countries. Under the policy, India has been sealing various bilateral and multilateral trade agreements since its institution.

The Act East Policy announced in 2014 is the upgrade of the Look East Policy which was promulgated in 1992

The Policy focuses on improving physical connectivity infrastructure (roads, ports, and air links) in the APAC region for easy movement of goods, as well as reducing transportation costs and time. The Policy also covers simplification of Customs procedures and reduction in the various trade barriers for seamless cross border trade in the region.

The enhanced trade operations in the region will ultimately lead to businesses in the region getting easier access to the markets spread across the subcontinent. This expanded market access opens up new opportunities for supply chain players to tap into larger consumer bases and diversify their operations, leading to potential growth and expansion.

SMP Kolkata Chairman Rathendra Raman said the government will work towards strengthening trade ties with Bangladesh through the facilitation of movement of goods between SMP Kolkata and various ports of Bangladesh, such as Chittagong and Mongla, involving Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI). Additionally, collaboration with Myanmar’s Sittwe Port, as part of the Kaladan Multi-Modal Transport Project (KMMTTP), will be pursued to transport cargo to NE India via Mizoram, he said.

The meeting was attended by senior corporate officials including SAIL, Tata Steel, Indian Oil, Haldia Petrochemicals Ltd, BPCL, Jindal Steel, and MAERSK Shipping Lines, a SMP statement said.

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