Biswajit studies border trade with BTCC members


By Our Staff Reporter
IMPHAL, Oct 7: Taking serious note of the cross border trade between Indian and Myanmar through Moreh which is heavily tilted towards the latter, Textile, Commerce and Industries Minister Thongam Biswajit today held a minute discussion on the border trade with representatives of the Border Trade Chamber of Commerce, Moreh.
The meeting held at the Minister’s Sanjenthong official residence was participated by 14 delegates of Border Trade Chamber of Commerce Moreh led by Tamil Sangam president V Shekhar.
The meeting deliberated on the debilitating situation of the border trade. The impacts of hiking import duty on betel nuts from 4 per cent to 40 per cent as per a decision of the Government of India since January 2017 were also discussed at length.
It was also pointed out that import duty imposed on betel nuts imported to Sri Lanka has been slashed from 40 per cent to 6 per cent.
Many of the delegates pointed out that the cross border trade would not bring any economic growth until and unless a free trade regime is introduced as done in neighbouring South Asian countries.
They urged the Minister to initiate certain measures in this regard and also to ensure growth of border trade.
Th Biswajit noted that Myanmar has been enjoying lion’s share of the profits earned from the border trade while the Indian side is unable to reap any significant benefit out of it. 
He claimed that the State Government has been considering the matter with all seriousness apart from working hard to introduce a number of policies and programmes which would promote local entrepreneurs.
Informing that the Government of India was approached several times in the past to take up necessary measure to ensure growth of Indo-Myanmar border trade, Biswajit noted Manipur is now dependent on Myanmar even for mango and tree bean (yongchak).
Now people have started importing fish from Myanmar in addition to Andhra Pradesh, he said.
He then appealed to all the people of Manipur to cultivate a healthy work culture in order to multiply the volumes of local products and give up the tendency of dependency on imported goods.
After the incumbent Government was sworn in, industrial estate of Kuraopokpi and Tera Urak which was lying idle has been re-activated and the industrial estate has started producing a number of goods. Even repairing of electric transformers is now done at the industrial estate.
Now many entrepreneurs have been asking the Government to allot them worksheds inside the industrial estate, he said.
Biswajit also proposed the delegates of Border Trade Chamber of Commerce to collectively take the issue of Indo-Myanmar border trade issue to the Government of India’s Commerce and Industries Ministry.
Highlighting that it is essential to open a visa facility at the Moreh integrated check post, Biswajit asserted that it is also crucial to enhance banking infrastructure  and open forex full fledged money changer and export-import financial transaction facilities at Moreh.
He also invited written suggestions from entrepreneurs on the border trade.