Myanmar boosts ties with S Asia; becomes SASEC’s newest member

DHAKA : Myanmar has become the seventh member of the South Asia Sub-regional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) partnership, opening up new markets and supply chain links for trade and business between South Asia and Southeast Asia, reports UNB.
aMyanmar’s participation in SASEC is expected to further promote and accelerate inter-subregional cooperation between South Asia and Southeast Asia and beyond, and will contribute significantly to achieving the future development goals of both sub-regions,” said Ronald Butiong, Director for Regional Cooperation for ADB’s South Asia Department.
SASEC countries – Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, and Sri Lanka – coordinate the planning of projects and activities to increase economic growth by building transport connectivity, facilitating faster and more efficient trade, and promoting cross-border power trade.
Myanmar’s membership comes in advance of the first SASEC meeting of Finance Ministers that will be held in New Delhi on April 3, according to an ADB message UNB received here from Manila.
SASEC members will announce their vision for SASEC to accelerate and sustain the growth momentum in the region by unlocking their natural resources, industry, and infrastructure through subregional cooperation.
To date, SASEC members have invested more than $9 billion in development projects, which have connected markets and businesses over the last 15 years in the subregion. ADB serves as the SASEC Secretariat.
‘Myanmar’s membership in SASEC can offer a host of opportunities for realizing synergies from economic cooperation in the subregion, said Shaktikanta Das, Secretary of the Department of Economic Affairs in India’s Ministry of Finance.
Road corridors in Myanmar provide the key links between South Asia and Southeast Asia, while ports in the country can provide alternate routes and gateways to the landlocked northeastern region of India.
Developing multimodal connectivity between India’s northeastern region, Bangladesh, and Myanmar has the potential to unleash significant economic potential and bring better livelihoods to millions in the region.
Transport linkages between South and Southeast Asia will also become more attractive to businesses once ongoing and planned motor vehicle agreements are finalized and implemented.
Negotiations are underway to allow passenger, personal, and cargo vehicles to cross international borders much faster and with fewer border formalities, saving time and money.