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CII East India Summit focuses on synergizing cross border trade, strong bilateral relationships

Jamshedpur, Sep 29: CII East India Summit Country Sessions with UK and Bangladesh, were aimed at bringing together a wide audience and participants from across the world. The sessions were dedicated to synergizing cross border trade and strong bilateral relationships resting on a foundation of mutual knowledge, understanding, and trust, thus leveraging opportune business ecosystem towards “Building Eastern India” through integrating the 5 “I”s – Image, Innovation, Infrastructure, Investment and Inclusiveness. 

Allan Walker, Green Finance Specialist, UK Department for International Trade (DIT), spelt out several attributes of Indo-UK Clean Growth Agenda, primarily focusing on Bank Lending, Capital Markets, Asset Management, Specialised Green Asset Managers, Venture Capital and Insurance, while addressing CII East India Summit session on UK. On referring to contribution of UK towards logistics infrastructure, Walker mentioned about milestones achieved by joint ventures of Standard Chartered Bank & HSBC, towards financing Sukuk Islamic green bond – the first ever sustainability linked financing in aviation sector. UK Government, as a part of its commitment towards renewable investments, has extended its  support to emerging economies to respond to the challenges and opportunities presented by climate change and has been keen on investing in renewables infrastructure in India through UK Climate Investments (UKCI). The paradigm shift towards a greener tomorrow, would reduce toxic air thereby increasing health benefits by continuously reducing dependence on fossil fuel based sources that provide approximately 64 per cent of India’s electricity, as opined by  Walker. 

Highlighting on an enterprising thought on Financing Disaster Resilience, Mr Alex Vleming, Insurance Specialist, UK Department for International Trade stated ” Closing the protection gap is the insurance industry’s key growth opportunity”. Embarking on the journey so far in the segment, Department of International Trade, UK, has earned the reputation of being the largest insurance hub in the world for capital about over 50 MGAs (managing general agent), 70 insurers, 350 brokers, and more than 4000 cover holders for collaboration. Speaking at the session on Prospects of Green Construction in current times, Mr Autif Sayyed, Project Lead- Green buildings South Asia, International Finance Corporation, mentioned the scope of Green Buildings as $24.7 trillion investment opportunity across all emerging markets. Sayyed urged Eastern India to contribute towards incentivizing ” Green Decision Making ” by fostering an enabling Government Policy Ecosystem, to raise the bars on building regulations in the region. Sharing his perspectives on Indo-UK Export Market, Rahul Tabhane, Country Head – India, UK Export Finance, elucidated upon incentives offered by UKEF to stakeholders in terms of sovereign or sub sovereign financing for Indian projects, financing for sovereigns or project sponsors in over 200 countries and line of credit for imports from UK.

The Country Session with Bangladesh provided an introspection on the concept of Indo-Bangladesh Transport Synergies for Generation of Seamless Business Environment. Setting the context of discussion, Toufique Hasan, Deputy High Commission of Bangladesh in Kolkata, mentioned that his country is one of the fastest growing economies, ranking 43rd in terms of GDP in 2020, predicting an upscale to 23rd in 2050. He urged India to step up investments in the three Special Economic Zones of Bangladesh, namely Mongla, Bheramara and Mirsarai, rendering them as absolutely commercially viable areas of investment. As an attempt to lure investments into its SEZs, Bangladesh has offered incentives, including exemption from income tax, VAT, customs duty and stamp duty, removal of ceiling on FDI,  elimination of curbs on issuance of work permits as well as resident visas and citizenship for investments over a certain limit, Hassan added.

Further to the discussion, it has also been opined that seamless transport connectivity between India and Bangladesh can readily boost up  national income by as much as 17 percent in Bangladesh and 8 percent in India. Experts like Abdul Matlub Ahmad , President, India-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industries, Mr. Mohammad Amin Helaly, Vice-President, Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industries and Motiar Rahman, CEO, Sharothi Enterprise agreed upon the utilities of transport integration agreements between Bangladesh and India, representing a significant step toward the creation of a cross-border harmonized transport market, thus connecting local markets to regional corridors and removing logistics bottlenecks in export-oriented value chains. The aim of cooperation between India and Bangladesh in particular should be to utilize the available resources optimally to provide maximum welfare in the whole region. The rationale for such cooperation lies in removing visible and invisible trade barriers, and exploiting the complementarities for the mutual benefit . The “Maitri Setu”, a bridge across the Feni river on the Indian boundary between Tripura and Bangladesh has indeed paved a pathway  towards  accessibility to the port of Chittagong in Bangladesh, bridging its inlet to North Eastern Corridor. 

As a major highlight to the discussion, Bangladesh representatives at East India Summit have expressed interest in collaborating with CII for framing overall national logistic development policy supported by higher investments in infrastructure to enhance Indo-Bangladesh competitiveness in various areas of Trade and Business. Bangladesh called for CII support as advisory body to develop ” Cross Border Logistic Masterplan ” in a targeted, coordinated and time-bound manner, to be implemented with close supervision from the highest level.

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