SASEC News

Compiled features on recent developments in regional cooperation and integration in the SASEC region.

Year:  

July 2017
New Agreement on Trade, Commerce, and Transit between India and Bhutan Comes into Force

The new Agreement on Trade, Commerce, and Transit between India and Bhutan has come into force beginning 29 July 2017. It provides for a free trade regime between the territories of India and Bhutan, and allows duty free transit of Bhutanese goods for trade with third countries.


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Tags:  IndiaBhutanTradeFree Trade AgreementTransit FacilitationTransport
 

July 2017
SAARC Countries Urged to Focus on Removing Non-tariff Barriers

Mr. Younus Dagha, Federal Secretary of Commerce, Pakistan, has urged the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) member countries to focus on removing non-tariff barriers to strengthen trade in the region. The region holds immense trade and investment potential, being home to 21% of the world's population.


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Tags:  SAARC CCIInvestmentsTradeBangladeshBhutanIndia
 

June 2017
Forum Emphasizes Importance of Cooperation in Regional Initiatives

A forum in Kathmandu, Nepal explored actions that will allow landlocked countries to take advantage of being "land-linked". Mr. Bipul Chatterjee, Executive Director, CUTS International, underscored the importance of cooperation among the four countries to be able to move forward.


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Tags:  NepalRegional CooperationBangladeshBhutanIndiaInfrastructure
 

June 2017
Commentary: South Asian Countries Building Connections

Mr. Prabir De, Professor at the Research and Information System for Developing Countries, discusses how the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) subregional grouping’s focus to bridge connectivity gaps is crucial to reducing poverty in the region. He highlights the pressing need to begin implementing comprehensive trade facilitation and connectivity measures in the BBIN subregion, and remarks how success of the BBIN initiative is important to move broader regional integration initiative
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Tags:  ConnectivityBBINTrade FacilitationTransportEnergyBangladeshBhutanIndiaNepal

 

June 2017
BBIN Intraregional Trade On the Rise

The International Trade Centre's Trade Map reports an increase in intraregional trade in the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) subregion in 2016, from $21.65 billion in 2015 to $23.52 billion. The ratio of BBIN intraregional trade to world trade went up from 2.98% in 2015 to 3.34% in 2016.


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Tags:  BBINBangladeshBhutanIndiaNepalTransportEnergyTrade
 

June 2017
Commentary: Promise and Flux in South Asian Electricity Trade

The Asia Foundation, in collaboration with the Confederation of Indian Industry, is preparing a study on energy trade in the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal subregion, examining how market forces, networks, and stakeholders interact. In this commentary, Mr. Aditya Valiathan Pillai, program officer of the Asia Foundation in India, discusses the creation of an energy market in South Asia and the growing importance of regional electricity trade in helping mitigate carbon emissions.


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Tags:  South AsiaBBINBangladeshBhutanIndiaNepalEnergyHydropower
 

June 2017
India Proposes Regional Air Connectivity Scheme among BIMSTEC Countries

The Government of India has proposed application of its "Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik" (UDAN) or "Common People of the Country can Fly" policy among member countries of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC). An enabling regional connectivity policy could help attract high value economic agents, business travelers, and tourists.


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Tags:  IndiaBIMSTECTransportConnectivityBhutanMyanmarRegional Cooperation
 

May 2017
India Drafts Cross-border Energy Trade Framework

India's Ministry of Power is preparing a set of guidelines for cross-border trade of electricity, with draft regulations from the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission. This will regulate cross-border energy trade between India and Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, and Nepal, by creating a uniform framework.


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Tags:  IndiaEnergyBangladeshBhutanNepal
 

May 2017
SAARC Finance Ministers Meet in Yokohama, Japan

Finance ministers and senior officials of member countries of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka met on 5 May at Yokohama, Japan, at the sidelines of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) 50th Annual General Meeting.


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Tags:  ADBBangladeshBhutanCentral AsiaClimate ChangeEnergyIndiaMaldivesNepalPolicyRegional CooperationSAARCSASECSri LankaTradeTransport
 

April 2017
India Cabinet Approves Signing of BIMSTEC Power Grid Pact

India's Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, approved the ratification of the MOU for the Establishment of the BIMSTEC Grid Interconnection. The MOU is expected to be signed at the next BIMSTEC Energy Minsters' Meeting and provides a broad framework for energy trade among BIMSTEC member countries.


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Tags:  BIMSTECBangladeshBhutanConnectivityEnergyIndiaMyanmarNepalSri LankaThailand
 

April 2017
Bangladesh Wants to Be South Asia’s Transport Hub

Bangladesh has the potential to become a transport hub for India, Bhutan, Nepal, Maldives, Sri Lanka, and Myamar, according to Mr. AMA Muhith, Finance Minister, Bangladesh. Turning Bangladesh into a regional and transshipment hub would enhance economic cooperation and result in collective economic growth for the countries, Mr. Muhith said at the SASEC Finance Ministers’ Meeting in New Delhi, India.


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Tags:  BangladeshBhutanEconomic Corridor DevelopmentEnergyICTIndiaNepalMaldivesMyanmarSASECSouth AsiaSri LankaTrade FacilitationTransportRegional Cooperation
 

March 2017
Bangladesh, Bhutan Commerce Secretaries Discuss Trade Promotion

The Commerce Secretaries of the Government of Bhutan and the Government of Bangladesh met on 23-24 March 2017 in Thimphu, Bhutan, to discuss the promotion of trade and commerce. The Secretaries agreed to negotiate an inland water transit protocol, and initiate a memorandum of understanding for mutual recognition of standards and classifications.


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Tags:  BangladeshBhutanStandards HarmonizationTradeTransport
 

March 2017
SASEC Program Is Now on Facebook

SASEC is now on Facebook, connecting followers to the most up-to-date news on regional cooperation in South Asia, SASEC events, project information, and publications that are all featured daily on www.sasec.asia. To follow SASEC on Facebook, simply click here; then click “Like” at the top of the Facebook page.


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Tags:  SASECBangladeshBhutanIndiaMaldivesMyanmarNepalSri LankaRegional CooperationTradeEconomic cooperation
 

February 2017
Commentary: An Emergent Urgency for Bangladesh

Good connectivity reduces the cost of doing business and increases the competitive strengths of trading partners. In this commentary, Dr. Mustafizur Rahman, Executive Director, Centre for Policy Dialogue, highlights how a sanitary and phytosanitary agreement and an effective Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal Motor Vehicle Agreement would promote South Asian integration and step up Asia-wide cooperation.


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Tags:  BBINMotor Vehicles AgreementBangladeshBhutanIndiaNepalTransportEconomic corridor
 

February 2017
Bhutan Prime Minister Meets Incoming ADB Country Director

Bhutan Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay met Ms. Kanokpan Lao-Araya, incoming Country Director, Asian Development Bank (ADB) Bhutan Resident Mission, and Mr. Hun Kim, Director General, ADB South Asia Department in Thimphu, Bhutan, after presentation of Ms. Lao-Araya's credentials to Bhutan Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Damcho Dorji. ADB is upgrading Bhutan from a representative office to full-country operations.


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Tags:  ADBBhutanRegional CooperationSouth Asia
 

February 2017
ADB to Back Bangladesh Road Connectivity and Energy Trade

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is ready to assist Bangladesh in its efforts to improve transport and energy connectivity. Mr. Wencai Zhang, Vice President, ADB, affirmed that ADB will continue to support Bangladesh in its goal of becoming a developed country by 2041, as well as in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and minimizing climate change impact.


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Tags:  ADBBangladeshBhutanBBINCooperationDevelopmentMotor Vehicles AgreementEnergyInvestmentNepal
 

February 2017
Cooperation the Best Option for South Asia’s Growing Power Needs

Hydropower cooperation among Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal could be a viable option for addressing growing power needs in the region, said Mr. Ainun Nishat, Professor Emeritus, Centre for Climate Change and Environmental Research, Brac University, Bangladesh. Nepal’s hydropower potential stands at 83,000 megawatts (MW), while Bhutan’s is at 40,000 MW and northeast India’s at 60,000 MW.


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Tags:  HydropowerEnergyRenewable EnergySustainabilityBangladeshBhutanIndiaNepal
 

January 2017
Commentary: Need for Re-imagining Regional Cooperation

Limited cooperation and economic integration in South Asia continue to hinder its growth potential, despite being one of the fastest-growing regions in the world. In this commentary, Dr. Shamsul Alam, Member (Senior Secretary), General Economics Division, Planning Commission, Government of Bangladesh, argues for the need to think of pragmatic approaches and re-imagine regional cooperation in South Asia.


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Tags:  ASEANBangladeshBhutanConnectivityIndiaEuropean UnionInfrastructure
 

January 2017
Railway Network Linking India and its Neighbors Under Consideration

A railway network linking India and its neighboring countries, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, and Nepal, is being considered by the Government of India, according to India Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu. Developing railway connectivity will increase employment, interaction, trade, and tourism.


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Tags:  IndiaRailBangladeshBhutanMyanmarNepalTradeTrade FacilitationTransportTourismEmployment
 

January 2017
Davos 2017: Accelerating South Asia's Growth and Development through Regional Cooperation

The interactive session “Harnessing Regional Cooperation in South Asia” held at the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum discussed how regional economic cooperation is helping accelerate growth and development. Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina emphasized continuous initiatives, in economic cooperation in South Asia, including SAFTA and SASEC. India Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman lauded initiatives to boost connectivity.


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Tags:  South AsiaRegional CooperationTrade FacilitationTransportBangladeshBhutanIndiaNepal
 

January 2017
India to Sign Customs Convention on International Transport of Goods

India is set to join the Transports Internationaux Routiers (TIR), or International Road Transport Convention in its bid to establish seamless trade connectivity with Southeast Asia and Eurasian countries. Through the TIR Convention, India could access Eurasia via the International North-South Transport Corridor. TIR would also give India an advantage in trade with fellow signatories of the Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal (BBIN) Motor Vehicles Agreement.


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Tags:  BangladeshBhutanIndiaNepalConnectivityCustomsEconomic corridorHarmonizationMotor Vehicles AgreementRoadRoadsTrade FacilitationTradeTransportBBIN
 

January 2017
Second India-Bhutan Joint Working Group on Customs Held in Thimphu

The Second India-Bhutan Joint Working Group on Customs highlighted the possibility of facilitating bilateral trade in select land Customs stations along Bhutan-India borders; and discussed streamlining Customs procedures and document requirements at entry and exit points. It also agreed to open three more trading points between Bhutan and India, and discussed issues including development of Goods and Service Tax in India.


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Tags:  IndiaBhutanCustomsTradeTrade FacilitationBilateral Agreement
 

December 2016
Commentary: Bhutan and Nepal: Two "Least Developed Nations" that Could Change Face of Asia

Least Developed Countries (LDCs) comprise around 880 million people yet account for less than 2% of the world gross domestic product. South Asian countries can accelerate economic development and graduate from the LDC category by working with each other. The economic future of their people could change radically through collaboration between the countries and lift millions of people out of poverty.


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Tags:  BhutanNepalBBINConnectivityEnergySAARCSri LankaTradeUNCTAD
 

December 2016
SASEC Mini Dry Port Project to Help Ease Traffic in Phuentsholing, Bhutan

Two of three South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation project components are seeing progress in Bhutan. A planned mini dry port project aims to provide cargo and other commercial vehicles a route that avoids traffic jams in the border town of Phuentsholing. A 2.66-kilometer bypass will also be built to connect Bau Bazaar in Jaigon and the Phuentsholing-Thimphu highway.


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Tags:  ADBBhutanTransportCustomsRoadSASECSouth Asia
 

December 2016
Regional Workshop Highlights Achievements of the SASEC Information Highway Project

A Regional Workshop on the SASEC Research and Training Network was held to assess the results and achievements of the SASEC Information Highway Project. The Meeting reviewed project implementation, discussed knowledge products, and summarized project benefits to rural communities. It also proposed ways to facilitate sustainable ICT cooperation among the four countries.


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Tags:  ICTSASECADBBangladeshBhutanIndiaNepal
 

December 2016
4th Regional Customs Enforcement Meeting

The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence under the Central Board of Excise and Customs organized the 4th Regional Customs Enforcement Meeting in New Delhi, India, as part of its Founding Day celebrations. The Heads of Customs Enforcement from Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Mauritius and Maldives were invited to participate in the said Meeting, which discussed issues of mutual concern, noted the need to share information and activate channels of coordination.


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Tags:  CustomsTrade FacilitationSouth AsiaRegional CooperationIndiaSri LankaMyanmarBangladeshNepalBhutanMaldivesMyanmarTrade
 

December 2016
SASEC Portfolio Tops $9 billion

The SASEC project portfolio has surpassed the $9 billion mark with the December 2016 approval of Nepal’s SASEC Roads Improvement Project, worth $256.5 million. There are now 44 SASEC investment projects worth a cumulative $9.13 billion. During 2016, seven projects have been approved for a total of $2.37 billion.


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Tags:  SASECTrade FacilitationEnergyTransportRoadsNepalBangladeshBhutanICTRailEconomic corridorConnectivity
 

November 2016
Bangladesh Foreign Minister, Bhutan Ambassador Discuss Joint Development of Hydropower Projects

Bangladesh Foreign Minister A.H. Mahmood Ali highlighted the potential joint development of hydropower projects between Bangladesh and Bhutan during discussions with Bhutan Ambassador to Bangladesh Sonam Tobden Rabgye.


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Tags:  BangladeshBhutanHydropowerEnergyBBIN
 

November 2016
Bhutan's National Council Declines Endorsement of the BBIN MVA

The National Council of Bhutan voted against ratification of the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) Motor Vehicle Agreement (MVA) at a session held on 15 November 2016. Council members delivered thirteen “no” votes, two “yes”, and five abstentions.


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Tags:  BhutanBBINTransport
 

November 2016
New India-Bhutan Bilateral Trade Agreement Signed

The new India-Bhutan Trade, Commerce and Transit Agreement was signed on 12 November 2016 in Thimphu, Bhutan. The bilateral Agreement focuses on promoting trade between the two countries through trade facilitation, improving trade procedures, and adding exit and entry points to facilitate Bhutan's third-country trade.


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Tags:  BhutanIndiaTrade FacilitationTradeLLDC
 

November 2016
Online Alert System for SPS/TBT Notifications Launched

EPing, an online alert system for updates on the latest information on regulatory requirements for international trade, was launched by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the World Trade Organization, and the International Trade Centre. The system enables access to WTO member notifications on TBT and SPS measures, and facilitates dialogue among the public and private sector in the early stages of potential trade issues.


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Tags:  Trade FacilitationTechnical Barriers to TradeSanitary and PhytosanitaryTradeWTOBangladeshBhutanIndiaMaldivesNepalSri Lanka
 

October 2016
New India-Bhutan Trade, Commerce, and Transit Agreement Approved by Indian Cabinet

A new Agreement on Trade, Commerce, and Transit between India and Bhutan, enabling a free trade regime between the two countries, and providing for duty-free transit of Bhutanese merchandise for trade with third countries, has been approved by the Cabinet of India, in a meeting chaired by India Prime Minister Narendra Modi.


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Tags:  BhutanIndiaTrade FacilitationTransportBilateral Trade
 

October 2016
Power Trade to Help South Asian Countries Save $9 Billion Annually, Reduce Emissions

South Asian countries should engage more in regional energy trade and joint management of resources. By doing so, they could save over $9 billion annually and reduce carbon emissions by 8%. And since energy drives development, energy cooperation and trade is expected to translate to improved standards of living and poverty reduction.


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Tags:  EnergyHydropowerSouth AsiaBangladeshBhutanIndiaMaldivesNepalSri Lanka
 

October 2016
Commentary: The Case for Stronger Ties in South Asia

In recent years, countries in South Asia have shown increasing commitment to deepening regional cooperation through bilateral agreements and regional initiatives, including the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal Motor Vehicles Agreement. This commentary by Ms. Nahela Nowshin of the Centre for Policy Dialogue discusses the importance of regional initiatives in South Asia, as well as the need to promote dialogue on matters of regional cooperation and connectivity.


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Tags:  Trade FacilitationTransportBangladeshBhutanIndiaNepal
 

October 2016
ADB Advances Harmonization of SPS/TBT Measures in the SASEC Subregion

The Asian Development Bank is helping countries in the SASEC subregion harmonize two technical non-tariff measures, Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Measures and Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT), to enhance intraregional trade. Under this initiative, a national diagnostic study on SPS and TBT will be conducted in the six SASEC member countries, to be led by core committees formed by the six governments, in consultation with trade experts.


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Tags:  Trade FacilitationNon-tariff MeasuresBangladeshBhutanNepal
 

September 2016
SASEC Countries Gear Up for Greater Economic Cooperation

The six member countries of the South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation Program have launched the SASEC Operational Plan for 2016-2025. The plan expands the program’s focus beyond intraregional cooperation to deepening linkages with Southeast and East Asia, and widens the scope of transport, trade facilitation, and energy cooperation to include economic corridor development as a priority initiative. The plan also lists more than 200 potential regional projects for South Asia.


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Tags:  ADBSASECEconomic corridorBangladeshBhutanIndiaMaldivesNepalSri Lanka
 

September 2016
13th SAARC Trade Fair Held in Thimphu

The 13th SAARC trade fair was held in Thimphu, Bhutan, to promote intra-regional trade and investment among SAARC countries. In his opening address, Mr. Lekey Dorji, Bhutan Economic Affairs Minister, underscored the importance of fostering business links among companies in the region to accelerate economic growth and improve people's well-being.


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Tags:  SAARCTradeSouth AsiaBhutanBangladeshIndiaNepalMaldivesSri Lanka
 

September 2016
Bangladesh Forming a Hydropower Generation Company

The Government of Bangladesh plans to form a hydropower generation company to import hydropower from countries including Bhutan and Nepal. The initiative will be set up under Bangladesh's Power Division, Ministry of Power, Energy, and Mineral Resources.


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Tags:  BangladeshHydropowerBhutan
 

September 2016
Customs-free BBIN Borders to Cut Time, Cost for Traders

Customs-free borders for Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal will save time and money for importers and exporters and thereby increase the ease of doing business, according to an executive of the Federation of Indian Exporters Organisation (FIEO). Because goods no longer have to be unloaded at the border, trucks can easily cross borders, reducing time and logistics costs for both buyer and seller.


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Tags:  BBINCustomsTradeMotor Vehicles AgreementBangladeshBhutanIndia
 

September 2016
Second BBIN Trial Run Demonstrates Benefits of BBIN MVA

A new chapter in trade relations and people-to-people contact between Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal (BBIN) began on 5 September 2016, as a Bangladeshi cargo truck rolled into the Customs Inland Container Depot, Patparganj, Delhi. Though the vehicle entered India through Petrapole Land Customs Station, Customs clearance was done at the ICD, Patparganj, as part of a trial run of the BBIN Motor Vehicles Agreement.


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Tags:  BBINTrade FacilitationTransportMotor Vehicles AgreementBangladeshBhutanIndiaNepal
 

September 2016
India to Provide Rail Link to Bhutan

As part of the Government of India’s Act East Policy, Indian Railways is set to provide a rail link to Bhutan to boost ties with its South Asian neighbors. Feasibility studies have been conducted for extended links between Kokrajhar-Gelephu, Rangiya-Samdrupjonkhar, Banarhat-Samtse, and Pathsala-Nanglam. India’s Northeast Frontier Railway has also undertaken survey work for rail connectivity to Nepal and Bangladesh.


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Tags:  IndiaBhutanRailTransport
 

September 2016
SAARC Ministers Push for Economic Union

Finance Ministers from the eight South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) member states are pushing for the formation of a South Asian Economic Union (SAEU) to ensure larger inflow of investments, higher trade volumes, and energy generation. The ministers highlighted the need to fast-track the formation of the SAEU to help boost the inflow of investments and trade volumes.


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Tags:  SAEUSAARCTradeEnergyTrade FacilitationBangladeshIndiaBhutanMaldivesNepal
 

August 2016
SAARC Finance Ministers Meeting Focuses on Trade, Taxation

The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Finance Ministers’ Meeting focused on improving trade relations among member nations. Discussions revolved around economic issues, Customs unions, avoidance of double taxation, improving connectivity, increasing trade volume, and developing supply chain linkages.


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Tags:  SAARCIndiaTradeBangladeshBhutanMaldivesNepalSri LankaConnectivityCustomsSASECTrade
 

August 2016
Joint Trade Commission Initiates Enhanced Bhutan-Thailand Economic Relations

The Bhutan-Thailand Joint Trade Commission held its first meeting on 24-25 August 2016 in Thimphu, Bhutan, to discuss ways to increase bilateral trade and improve economic cooperation. Ms. Apiradi Tantrapon, Minister for Commerce, Thailand, emphasized that implementing the 2013 bilateral trade and economic cooperation agreement is key to strengthening economic relations.


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Tags:  BhutanThailandTrade
 

August 2016
BBIN MVA to Boost Infrastructure Development in the Subregion

The Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) Motor Vehicles Agreement (MVA) is set to boost infrastructure development in the BBIN subregion. Bangladesh will see significant increase in cargo movement, enabling India to access its Northeast region, and helping facilitate third-country trade of landlocked Bhutan and Nepal. However, major investments in infrastructure are needed to maximize Bangladesh’s potential to become a transport and transshipment hub.


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Tags:  BangladeshBhutanIndiaNepalTrade Facilitation
 

August 2016
Editorial: Basin-wide River Management for South Asia’s Prosperity

River management provides opportunities to release regenerative capacities of the people and environment of basin-wide areas. The following article suggests South Asian countries cooperate to fulfill a promise of greater sustainability. Cooperation in water resource management can serve as a catalyst for broader regional cooperation, economic integration, and development.


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Tags:  BBINRiversBangladeshBhutanIndiaMaldivesSri LankaTransport
 

July 2016
SASEC Investment Projects Top $7.7 Billion

South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) investment projects increased to a cumulative $7.66 billion in the areas of transport, energy, trade facilitation, and ICT with the recent approval of India’s Bihar New Ganga Bridge Project. To date, 40 SASEC-supported projects are helping member countries strengthen regional connectivity infrastructure, promote economic growth, and foster regional cooperation. In addition, there are now 71 technical assistance projects worth $66.14 mi
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Tags:  SASECEnergyTrade FacilitationTransportSouth AsiaADBICTBangladeshBhutanIndiaMaldivesNepalSri LankaEconomic Corridor Development

 

July 2016
Bangladesh Road Transport and Bridges Minister: BBIN MVA May Start in December

Implementation of the Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN) Motor Vehicle Agreement (MVA) may start in December, according to Bangladesh Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader, while speaking at a closing ceremony of a drivers' training on road safety.


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Tags:  BBINTrade FacilitationTransportBangladeshBhutanIndiaNepal
 

July 2016
Blog: Is South Asia ready for a Regional Motor Vehicles Agreement?

Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN) signed a landmark Motor Vehicles Agreement (MVA) meant to allow smooth passage of goods and passenger vehicles in each other’s territories. In this blog post, Sanjay Kathuria, Lead Economist and Coordinator, South Asia Regional Integration, Trade and Competitiveness Global Practice, World Bank, asks if South Asia is truly ready for such a regional agreement.


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Tags:  South AsiaTransportTrade FacilitationBangladeshBhutanIndiaMaldivesNepalSri Lanka
 

July 2016
Commentary: 800 Million Reasons

Mr. Hun Kim, Director General, South Asia Department, ADB, describes how partnership of 6 South Asian countries through the ADB-supported South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) Program is helping propel economic growth in South Asia, amidst an uncertain regional and global economic climate, by working to increase trade volumes to reduce the number of impoverished people in the region.


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Tags:  Regional CooperationSouth AsiaEnergyTrade FacilitationTransportBangladeshBhutanIndiaMaldivesNepalSri Lanka
 

June 2016
Interactive SASEC Corridor Map on Website

The interactive SASEC Corridor Map on the SASEC Program website and SASEC Mobile App is your gateway to SASEC projects. View projects by sector—energy, transport, trade facilitation, and ICT—or by corridor using the interactive map, to learn how the SASEC program is helping promote regional prosperity in South Asia. The map also includes project information and links to SASEC project pages.


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Tags:  SASECEconomic corridorEnergyTrade FacilitationTransportBangladeshBhutanIndiaMaldives
 

June 2016
ADB Blog: Why We Should Be Happy When SASEC Customs Officials Talk More

Meetings between Customs officials from SASEC member countries reaps benefits for the SASEC subregion and beyond, providing a platform for officers to decide the next steps in improving cross-border coordination and cooperation to resolve bottlenecks for trade at the borders. An Asian Development Bank (ADB) blog post by Ms. Rose McKenzie, Senior Regional Cooperation Specialist, Regional Cooperation and Operations Coordination, South Asia Regional Department, ADB, is shared.


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Tags:  CustomsTrade FacilitationRegional CooperationICTBBINBangladeshBhutanIndiaMaldivesNepal
 

June 2016
Speech: The Future of Energy Demand

Greatly increased energy consumption is powering economic transformation in Asia and the Pacific, but also contributing to higher greenhouse gas emissions. The devastating effects of climate change are already being felt in the region. In this speech delivered at the Pacific Energy Summit on 24 June 2016 in Singapore, Bambang Susantono, Vice-President for Knowledge Management and Sustainable Development, Asian Development Bank, looks at the challenges faced by Asia’s growing economies a
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Tags:  ADBEnergyHydropowerClimate ChangeBhutanIndiaNepal

 

June 2016
Bhutan's National Assembly Ratifies the BBIN Motor Vehicle Agreement

Bhutan's National Assembly ratified the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal Motor Vehicle Agreement (BBIN MVA) on 21 June 2016 with 28 votes. Bhutan Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay reiterated that the BBIN MVA would regulate cross-border movement of vehicles in the subregion through formulation of protocols. Implementation of the BBIN MVA will help strengthen Bhutan's existing ties with India, and boost cooperation and integration within the subregion.


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Tags:  BhutanBBINTrade FacilitationTransport
 

June 2016
ADB Blog: High Hopes for BBIN Vehicle Agreement, One Year On

The Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) Motor Vehicles Agreement is a landmark framework agreement signed by the transport ministers of the BBIN countries last June 2015 in Thimphu, Bhutan. Mr. Ronald Butiong, Director, Regional Cooperation and Operations Coordination, South Asia Regional Department, Asian Development Bank (ADB), describes how it is paving the way for a more integrated and more prosperous South Asian region in an ADB blog entry.


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Tags:  BBINTrade FacilitationTransportBangladeshBhutanIndiaNepal
 

June 2016
Bhutan, Nepal, and Sri Lanka Look Into Setting up Trade Portals

Bhutan, Nepal, and Sri Lanka have expressed interest in adopting best practices of the Indian Trade Portal in setting up their own trade portals to promote international trade. Trade portals to be set up by Bhutan and Nepal will also be useful for cargo being routed through India, and will contribute to the common documentation system needed to implement the World Trade Organization's Trade Facilitation Agreement.


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Tags:  BhutanIndiaNepalSri LankaTrade PortalTrade FacilitationSASECCustomsTrade
 

June 2016
Bhutan Standards Bureau Obtains Accreditation to Certify 3 Goods for Export

The Bhutan Standards Bureau received accreditation from the National Accreditation Board for Certification Bodies, India to certify three products, including grade 43 ordinary Portland cement, bitumen emulsion, and thermomechanically treated reinforcement bars, for export. This reduces technical barriers to trade, facilitating free movement for these three types of products across Bhutanese borders.


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Tags:  BhutanStandards HarmonizationSAARCTrade Facilitation
 

June 2016
Bhutan Parliament Passes New Customs Bill

The 7th Session of the Second Parliament of Bhutan passed the new Customs Bill on 7 June 2016. The Bill was drafted according to standards of the Revised Kyoto Convention, and aims to simplify and harmonize Customs procedures in the country and introduce international best practices in Customs. It aims to promote external trade, including trade with countries in the SAARC region, and bring increased revenue through risk management and automation.


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Tags:  BhutanCustomsStandards HarmonizationTrade
 

June 2016
SAARC CCI and SAARC Development Fund to Co-finance Projects

The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Development Fund (SDF) and SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry have pledged to collaborate and co-finance projects under the SDF's social, economic and infrastructure windows to promote regional connectivity across the SAARC region.
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Tags:  SAARC CCISAARCRegional CooperationBangladeshBhutanIndiaMaldivesNepalSri LankaTradeTransport
 

June 2016
Bhutan Air Connectivity Project to Upgrade Domestic Airports

Bhutan is upgrading three domestic airports—Bumthang, Gelephu, and Yonphula—to enhance their capacity, safety, and efficiency. The Asian Development Bank is providing additional financing for this SASEC project, to further strengthen safety and security, and improve passenger convenience and service at these airports.


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Tags:  BhutanAirportsTransportTourism
 

May 2016
SARSO Conducts Workshop on Harmonizing Standards in Bhutan

A workshop on harmonizing standards in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) region was held by the South Asian Regional Standards Organization (SARSO) in Bhutan. Mr. Tashi Wangchuk, Deputy Director, SARSO, emphasized the importance of Bhutan Standards Bureau's technical committees participating in SARSO's Sectoral Technical Committees.
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Tags:  SARSOBhutanStandards HarmonizationTrade FacilitationSAARC
 

May 2016
ADB, SDF Sign Pact to Co-finance Development Projects

The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation Development Fund (SAARC SDF) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) have signed a memorandum of understanding to undertake development projects in the South Asian region.
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Tags:  ADBTransportSAARCICTTradeBhutanIndiaNepal
 

May 2016
King of Bhutan Emphasizes Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal Cooperation

Bangladesh Foreign Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali paid a courtesy call on the King of Bhutan Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck. The King lauded Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's initiatives to boost Bangladesh-Bhutan bilateral relations, and emphasized the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) cooperation as a platform to achieve regional prosperity.
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Tags:  BhutanBangladeshBBINIndiaNepalTransportRegional Cooperation
 

May 2016
Bangladesh Trade Organization Looks into Growing Bhutan Trade Volume

The Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FBCCI) explored the possibility of growing its trade volume from Bhutan through investments in the country's fruit and vegetable processing industries and buying spices from Bhutan. FBCCI President Abdul Matlub Ahmad was in the country to explore new areas of trade and investments between the two countries.
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Tags:  BangladeshBhutanTradePrivate Sector
 

May 2016
Foreign Ministers of Bangladesh and Bhutan Discuss Energy Cooperation

Bangladesh Foreign Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali and Bhutan Foreign Minister Damcho Dorji discussed hydropower in a meeting in Thimphu, Bhutan: Bangladesh plans to invest in the 1,125 megawatt Dorjilung hydropower project. Trilateral cooperation among Bangladesh, Bhutan, and India would enable Bangladesh's investment in Bhutan's hydropower sector.
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Tags:  BangladeshBhutanEnergyHydropower
 

May 2016
Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal Economic Zone May be Formed

A Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) economic zone may be declared in an upcoming BBIN seminar and business expo to be held in Siliguri, India, according to Mr. Abdul Matlub Ahmad, President, Federation of Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI). Mr. Ahmad was in Thimphu, Bhutan to discuss the upcoming BBIN seminar, as well as opportunities for trade and investment between Bangladesh and Bhutan.
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Tags:  Economic zoneBBINTradeBangladeshBhutanIndiaNepal
 

April 2016
WCO Workshop Considers Improvement of Regional Transit Regimes in BBIN Subregion

A World Customs Organization (WCO) Subregional Workshop on Transit Corridors in South Asia considered improvement of regional transit regimes in the region. Progress of the Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN) Motor Vehicle Agreement, as well as national experiences of Japan, Switzerland and Malawi in implementing efficient transit regimes, was discussed.
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Tags:  Trade FacilitationTransportBBINBangladeshBhutanIndiaNepal
 

April 2016
Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal Railway Agreement Proposed to Boost Multimodal Connectivity

A railway agreement in the Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal (BBIN) subregion is being proposed, in line with expansion of railway links boosting connectivity between India's Northeast and its BBIN neighbors. According to Mr. Mukul Kumar, Director (Transport), Railway Board, Ministry of Railways, Government of India, this initiative will facilitate cross-border transport of goods and people, and enable efficient multimodal transport system to integrate and sustain the region's economic growth.
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Tags:  BBINRailTransportBangladeshBhutanIndiaNepal
 

April 2016
Economic Cooperation Dialogue Highlights Need for Transport Corridors

The Economic Cooperation Dialogue on Regional Connectivity and Border Special Development Zones in Eastern South Asia highlighted the importance of transport corridors to promote trade and economic cooperation in the region. Dr. Nagesh Kumar, Head, UNESCAP Subregional Office for South and South-West Asia, shared how developing transport corridors can turn constraints faced by the region's landlocked countries into opportunities.
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Tags:  TradeTransportSouth AsiaMyanmarBangladeshBhutanIndiaNepal
 

April 2016
Nikachhu Hydropower Moves toward Start of Construction

The contract for civil and hydro-mechanical works of the Nikachhu Hydro Energy Project has been awarded to the Hindustan Construction Company Limited, in an international bidding held by Tangsibji Hydro Energy Limited. Works under the commissioned contract, worth around $69 million, are scheduled to start as early as July 2016. The 118 megawatt Nikachhu hydropower plant aims to become another model hydropower development in Bhutan.
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Tags:  BhutanEnergyHydropower
 

April 2016
India Approves MoU on Technical Cooperation with Bhutan

The Governments of Bhutan and India are set to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on technical cooperation in the field of capacity building, benchmarking and bilateral exchange in infrastructure engineering, following approval of the Government of India in a meeting chaired by India Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The MoU will provide an umbrella for educational, scientific and technical research and environment protection.
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Tags:  IndiaBhutanInfrastructureCooperationEnvironment
 

April 2016
Training Institute Prepares to Meet Bhutan's Human Resource Needs in Hydropower

The Jigme Wangchuck Power Training Institute in Gelephu, Bhutan is preparing to meet the human resource requirements of the country’s hydropower sector in the next four years. According to estimates by the Druk Green Power Corporation and Bhutan Power Corporation, the country’s hydropower sector will need at least 6,500 people to achieve its vision of generating 10,000 megawatts by 2020.
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Tags:  BhutanHydropowerServicesEnergy
 

April 2016
Continuous Demand for Hydropower in India

Mr. Pradeep Kumar Pujari, Secretary, Ministry of Power, India, ensured continuous demand for hydropower in the Indian grid, during his visit to Bhutan to review ongoing joint hydropower ventures. The Government of India plans to triple its power generation capacity to 800 gigawatts by 2030, using renewable energy sources.
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Tags:  HydropowerEnergyBhutanIndia
 

April 2016
Promoting Trade in the BBIN Subregion Dialogue Discusses Need to Reduce NTMs

A Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) dialogue on promoting trade in the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) subregion has discussed intraregional trade in South Asia, which remains under 5% despite implementation of the South Asia Free Trade Agreement. According to MCCI, non-tariff measures manifested as non-tariff barriers and para-tariff barriers lead to high transaction costs in cross-border trade, keeping trade volume low.
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Tags:  TradeBBINSAFTABangladeshBhutanIndiaNepal
 

April 2016
Commentary: Political Economy of Regional Integration: Where Do We Stand in South Asia?

Dr. Selim Reihan notes that drivers of political economy can impact the region's integration agenda. In this essay, Dr. Raihan highlights the importance of exploring the political economy of regional integration to generate a better assessment of the factors driving and constraining regional integration, and create broader awareness among stakeholders to stimulate a more realistic and effective regional policy design and processes.


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Tags:  Economic corridorBhutanIndiaBangladeshNepalMaldivesSri LankaSAARCSAFTAServicesSouth AsiaInfrastructureTrade FacilitationTransport
 

March 2016
Interactive Meet Discusses Cooperation between Bhutan and India's North East

A delegation from Bhutan's Royal Institute for Governance and Strategic Studies participated in an interactive session with representatives from the Indian Institute of Entrepreneurship and Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce. The Meeting discussed possible cooperation between Bhutan and India's North East in sectors including trade, commerce, hydropower, and tourism.
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Tags:  TradeHydropowerBhutanIndia
 

March 2016
Bilateral Ties, BBIN MVA Reviewed in Meeting between Bangladesh President and Bhutan Ambassador

Bangladesh President Abdul Hamid, in a meeting with outgoing Bhutan Ambassador to Bangladesh Pema Choden, highlighted how implementation of the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) Motor Vehicle Agreement (MVA) will expand the scope of trade and investment in the subregion. They also discussed how bilateral relations between Bangladesh and Bhutan could be enhanced.
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Tags:  BangladeshBhutanBBINTransportMotor Vehicles Agreement
 

March 2016
Bangladesh Prime Minister, Bhutan Queen Mother Discuss Growing Bilateral Ties

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina expressed satisfaction over the growing engagement between Bangladesh and Bhutan. The Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal initiative, according to the Prime Minister, further widens the scope of cooperation between the two countries. The Queen of Bhutan likewise expressed the hope that bilateral relations between the two countries will continue to strengthen.
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Tags:  BangladeshBhutanBBINRegional Cooperation
 

February 2016
Regional Economic Connectivity Initiatives to Change Bangladesh Business Landscape

Regional economic connectivity initiatives, including the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal Motor Vehicle Agreement, can change the business landscape of Bangladesh, said Bangladesh Foreign Secretary Md. Shahidul Haque at a meeting of the Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry.  The BBIN MVA will transform 30 transport corridors into economic corridors, and is set to give subregional businesses a boost.
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Tags:  BangladeshIndiaBhutanNepalTransport
 

February 2016
SAARC-ADB First Training Programme of Nodal Points on Updating SAARCSTAT Web Portal

The SAARC-ADB First Training Programme of Nodal Points on Updating SAARCSTAT Web Portal was organised by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS). The Training focused on updating national data available on the SAARCSTAT Web Portal to enhance usability, and equipped representatives from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka with knowledge and capacity to upload and update their information on the website.
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Tags:  SAARCTradeEconomic cooperationBangladeshBhutanIndiaMaldivesNepalSri Lanka
 

January 2016
2016 International Customs Day: Bhutan Department of Revenue and Customs

Bhutan's Department of Revenue and Customs observed the International Customs Day at the Regional Revenue and Customs Office, Samtse. Customs officials with outstanding contribution to the organization were awarded World Customs Organization Merit Certificates. Senior officials from the Ministry of Finance, border enforcement agencies and cross-border Customs officials from neighbouring towns of India joined the celebration.
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Tags:  CustomsBhutanTrade Facilitation
 

January 2016
3rd Meeting of BBIN Joint Working Group on Subregional Cooperation, Dhaka

The third meeting of the Joint Working Group on Subregional Cooperation between Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN) on Connectivity and Transit and Water Resources Management and Power/Hydropower deliberated new initiatives for deepening cooperation. Discussion centered around progress made under the BBIN Motor Vehicle Agreement and the proposed BBIN Rail Agreement.
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Tags:  BBINTrade FacilitationEnergyTransportBangladeshBhutanIndiaNepal
 

December 2015
SASEC Information Highway to Enable Bangladesh to Export Bandwidth in BBIN Region

The SASEC Information Highway Project will enable Bangladesh to export at least 50 gbps of bandwidth to Bhutan, northeast India, and Nepal, said an official from Bangladesh's ICT Division. An initial 10 gbps will initially be imported to India's northeast, which could bring in earnings of around $1.23 million a year. The Indian states of Assam and Meghalaya, and Bhutan, have also expressed interest to import bandwidth.
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Tags:  ICTBangladeshBhutan
 

December 2015
Celebrating 30 Years of SAARC

On 8 December 1985, the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Charter was signed by Heads of State/Government of SAARC Member States during the First SAARC Summit held in Dhaka, Bangladesh. SAARC promotes welfare economics, collective self-reliance among the countries of South Asia, and accelerated socio-cultural development in the South Asia region.
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Tags:  SAARCRegional CooperationSouth AsiaBangladeshBhutanIndiaNepalMaldivesSri Lanka
 

December 2015
Commentary: South Asia Could Be Linchpin for Regional Integration

South Asia is set to play a strategic role in Asian integration. This commentary by Mr. Ganeshan Wignaraja, Advisor in the Asian Development Bank’s Economic Research and Regional Cooperation Department, shares how linking emerging South Asia with the more developed member countries of the Association of South East Asian Nations will transform regional economies through development of regional connectivity, and create a huge regional market of 2-3 billion people.


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Tags:  South AsiaEconomic corridorDevelopmentASEANSoutheast AsiaEast AsiaTrade FacilitationTransportTourismmanufacturingBangladeshBhutanIndiaMaldivesNepal
 

December 2015
Customs Cooperation, Bilateral Transport Agreement Discussed at Bangladesh-Bhutan Meeting

A 2-day meeting between Bangladesh and Bhutan headed by Commerce Secretaries discussed several bilateral concerns, including increasing products on the duty-free import/export list of both countries, potential hydropower imports from Bhutan to Bangladesh, Customs cooperation, and road and water transport agreement.
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Tags:  BangladeshBhutanCustomsTrade FacilitationTransportBBIN
 

November 2015
Exchange of Documents at Major SASEC Border-Crossing Points Starts

The exchange of export-related data between designated adjacent border crossing points in the SASEC subregion commenced on 30 November 2015. This SASEC Customs Subgroup Subregional Project promotes the exchange of documents at five major border-crossing points between Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal, to promote future electronic exchange of data and build a better risk profile of traders.
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Tags:  Trade FacilitationCustomsBangladeshBhutanIndiaNepal
 

November 2015
Seminar on BBIN MVA Calls on Bhutanese Parliament to Endorse the Agreement

A seminar organized by Kalinga Motor Sports, with support from the Governments of Bangladesh, Bhutan, and India and funding from the Asian Development Bank, discussed the importance of the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) Motor Vehicle Agreement for regional connectivity and the recent decision of the Parliament of Bhutan to defer its endorsement. The Ambassadors of Bangladesh and India spoke on the occasion, calling on Bhutan's Parliament to endorse and ratify the agreement.
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Tags:  BhutanBBINTransport
 

November 2015
Bhutan's Accession to the WTO Discussed

Accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) was discussed during a workshop on Bhutan's graduation from least developed country (LDC) status, held on 17-18 November 2015. The Workshop clarified how membership to the WTO will benefit Bhutan, including enjoying the benefits of a multilateral trading system with WTO member countries, and discussed wider implications of WTO membership.
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Tags:  BhutanWTOTrade FacilitationTrade
 

November 2015
Bhutan and Sri Lanka Hold First Annual Bilateral Consultation

The first annual bilateral consultation between the Government of Bhutan and the Government of Sri Lanka, held on 16 November 2015 in Colombo, discussed cooperation in regional and multilateral forums, and air connectivity. Membership of regional organizations and frameworks, including SAARC and BIMSTEC, was emphasized by the two countries as one way to strengthen links and enhance trade and economic cooperation.
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Tags:  BhutanSri LankaBilateral TradeConnectivityTransport
 

November 2015
BBIN MVA Transit Fees for Goods and Passenger Vehicles to be Finalized

A Meeting for the Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal Motor Vehicle Agreement (BBIN MVA)on 3-4 December 2015 will finalize the transit fees for goods and passenger vehicles, and discuss other issues, said Bangladesh Road Transport Minister Obaidul Quader. Transport of passengers and goods under the BBIN MVA will formally start in January 2016, with initial restrictions in place.
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Tags:  BBINTransportBangladeshBhutanIndiaNepal
 

November 2015
Bhutan Moves to Modernize Customs Administration through New Customs Bill

Bhutan Finance Minister Namgay Dorji presented the Customs Bill 2015 at the country's National Assembly on 5 November. The Bill aims to modernize Bhutan's Customs administration and was drafted in accordance with standards of the Revised Kyoto Convention. Aligning Bhutan with international standards and practices will lead to economic and non-economic gains, such as increased transparency and predictability of Customs actions, as well as added revenue.
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Tags:  BhutanTrade FacilitationCustoms
 

November 2015
THyE, Indian Banks Sign Loan Agreement for Nikachhu Hydropower

Bhutan’s Tangsibji Hydro Energy Limited (ThyE) and the State Bank of India (SBI) and EXIM signed a financial agreement costing around $53.5 million for the 118 megawatt Nikachhu hydropower plant. Power generated through the project will boost renewable energy generation in Bhutan, and further expand cross-border power trading in the region.
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Tags:  BhutanEnergyPrivate Sector
 

November 2015
Bhutan Economic Affairs Minister and Bangladesh Prime Minister Discuss Hydropower Exports

Bhutan Economic Affairs Minister Lyonpo Norbu Wangchuk and Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina discussed the possibility of exporting hydropower from Bhutan to Bangladesh. According to Minister Wangchuk, Bhutan is interested to supply hydropower to Bangladesh at the lowest possible cost to help meet the country's growing demand for electricity.
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Tags:  BangladeshBhutanEnergy
 

October 2015
E-Permit for Indian Visitors to Bhutan under Consideration

A meeting between Bhutan Tourism Board officials and India's State Tourism Secretary Ajit Ranjan Bardhan discussed ways to improve links between Bhutan and India, including introducing an online entry permit system for Indian visitors and easing immigration checks. Bhutan agreed to consider providing online permits by 2016, said Secretary Bardhan.
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Tags:  ICTIndiaBhutanTourism
 

October 2015
Business Conclave Promotes Enhanced Connectivity between Bhutan and West Bengal

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee encouraged private sector delegates to explore a business corridor concept for tourism, small industries and joint venture projects at an India-Bhutan Business Conclave, held in Bhutan. Making West Bengal a gateway to the North East will open up further business opportunities for Bhutan.
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Tags:  BhutanIndiaTrade FacilitationTransport
 

October 2015
Bhutan Prime Minister and West Bengal Chief Minister Revive Talks on Indo-Bhutan Railway

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Bhutan Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay renewed their commitment to pursue the Golden Jubilee Railway line from Hasimara, India to Bhutan during the Chief Minister's call to Prime Minister Tobgay on 5 October 2015. Both sides agreed to review the railway project, and examine ways to resolve land-related issues.
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Tags:  BhutanIndiaTransportRail
 

September 2015
Bhutan Prime Minister Calls for Partnerships to Help LLDCs

Bhutan Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay promotedpartnerships as a way to help landlocked developing countries (LLDCs) become land-linked to global opportunities, saying it is possible to ensure a country is not landlocked economically with its neighbors' full trust and confidence. The Prime Minister was attending a high-level forum for landlocked developing countries on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.
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Tags:  BhutanLLDCNepalEnergyIndiaTrade Facilitation
 

September 2015
India's Power Grid Commissions Transmission Express Highway

The Power Grid Corporation of India began power transmission along its first "Power Transmission Express Highway". With a 6,000-megawatt capacity, this power corridor connects the northern states with the North Eastern Region, and will help both manage the supply of large-scale hydropower and connect power transactions done with Bhutan, Bangladesh, and Nepal.
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Tags:  EnergyIndiaBhutanBangladeshNepal
 

September 2015
6th Bhutan International Trade Fair 2015

Bhutan and Nepal conducted an international trade fair from 4-8 September 2015 in Thimphu, Bhutan to boost trade between the two countries. This private sector event recognizes Bhutan as a potential market for a growing number of businesses. A total of 215 business entities from seven countries participated in the fair.
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Tags:  BhutanNepalTradePrivate Sector
 

September 2015
Fourth India-Bhutan Development Cooperation Talks

The Fourth Annual India-Bhutan Development Cooperation Talks discussed bilateral development assistance to Bhutan on 2 September 2015 in New Delhi, India, with India pledging about $677.28 million of project assistance to Bhutan. Both sides noted with satisfaction the progress of Small Development Projects and overall project implementation.
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Tags:  BhutanIndiaEconomic cooperation
 

September 2015
SAARC Expresses Need for Regional Standard and Certification System

Representatives from South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) member countries expressed the need for a regional standard and certification system in Thimphu, Bhutan to create opportunities for farmers and exploit market potential in the region. Bhutan will soon export organically grown products to neighboring SAARC countries.
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Tags:  BhutanRegional StandardSAARC
 

August 2015
Bangladesh and Bhutan Customs Begin Sharing Trade Data

A Meeting of the Joint Group of Customs of Bangladesh and Bhutan held in Thimphu, Bhutan on 26-27 July agreed to share export-import data from Phuentsholing and Burimari Customs stations. The Meeting also decided to consider opening Bangladesh's Chilmari and Roumari river routes to increase access between the two countries.
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Tags:  BangladeshBhutanTrade Facilitation
 

August 2015
Commentary on the BBIN MVA as Positive Development for Subregional Cooperation

Read a commentary on the Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal (BBIN) Motor Vehicles Agreement (MVA) as positive development for the BBIN subregional grouping. The BBIN MVA is a landmark framework agreement that aims to facilitate seamless flow of passenger, personal and cargo vehicular traffic between and among the BBIN countries.
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Tags:  BBINTransportBangladeshBhutanIndiaNepal
 

July 2015
Bangladesh and Bhutan Customs Officials Discuss Removal of Non-Tariff Barriers

Customs officials from Bangladesh and Bhutan met on 27 July 2015 in Thimphu, Bhutan to discuss removal of barriers that restrict bilateral trade, and the sharing of import and export data between the two countries. As important trading partners, Bangladesh and Bhutan are working to resolve non-tariff barriers to enhance trade efficiency and boost the exchange of goods.
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Tags:  BangladeshBhutanTrade Facilitation
 

July 2015
Bhutan SASEC Road Connectivity Project to Begin September

Construction to improve Pasakha Access Road in Phuentsholing, Bhutan will start in September, said officials from Bhutan's Department of Roads, Ministry of Works and Human Settlement. This road section—a key output of the SASEC Road Connectivity Project in Bhutan—will access a bypass road from Bibarey near Manglabarey, providing trucks and other vehicles an alternate route to industrial sites in Pasakha. Once constructed, it is expected to decongest traffic in Bhutan's Phuentsholing and India
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Tags:  BhutanIndiaTrade FacilitationTransport
 

July 2015
First Bhutan-India Hydropower Project Joint Venture Formally Registered

The certificate of incorporation for the 660 megawatt Kholongchu Hydropower Project (KHP) was formally handed over to Bhutan's Druk Green Power Corporation and India's Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam. Officials of KHP expect construction of about 40 kilometers of road leading to the project site to soon commence. KHP is the first joint venture between Bhutan and India.
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Tags:  BhutanIndiaHydropowerEnergy
 

June 2015
Commentaries on BBIN MVA from Across the Subregion

Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal formed a subregional grouping under the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) Framework, and signed a Motor Vehicles Agreement (MVA) allowing seamless transit across each other's territories at the Meeting of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal Transport Ministers on Regional Road Transport Connectivity. Several commentaries from across the region have been published on the BBIN MVA, and are shared below.
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Tags:  BangladeshBhutanIndiaNepalBBINTransport
 

June 2015
Asian Development Bank Reaffirms Commitment to Road Connectivity Projects in Bhutan

Asian Development Bank Vice President Wencai Zhang reaffirmed ADB’s continuous commitment to Bhutan highway projects and the development of the country's wider road sector in discussions with Bhutan Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay and Finance Minister and ADB Governor Namgay Dorji focusing on current and future ADB operations in Bhutan during his visit to Thimphu on 15 June. Improvements in Bhutan's infrastructure will help improve and diversify the economy.
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Tags:  BhutanTransportTrade Facilitation
 

May 2015
India-Bhutan Bilateral Trade and Transit Meeting

The India-Bhutan Bilateral Trade and Transit Meeting was held in Thimphu, Bhutan from 25-27 May 2015 to create a trade value chain between India and Bhutan and remove bottlenecks impeding trade flows. Such trade and transit talks are held regularly between the two countries and strengthen bilateral trade cooperation. The meeting resolved some pending issues from the January 2014 meeting.
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Tags:  BhutanBilateral TradeIndia
 

May 2015
Bhutan and Bengal Chamber of Commerce and Industry Sign MoU

A Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the presidents of the Bhutan Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Bengal Chamber of Commerce and Industry on 13 May 2015, stating that both chambers would assist the enterprises of the other country to invest jointly in their respective countries.
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Tags:  BhutanIndiaTrade
 

May 2015
Bhutan and ADB Sign $120.5 Million Second Green Power Development Project

A loan and grant financing agreement was signed by the Royal Government of Bhutan and the Asian Development Bank on 4 May 2015 to develop the 118 megawatt Nikachhu hydropower plant. This project will promote regional energy trade between Bhutan and India, and help Bhutan meet its growing demands for electricity.
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Tags:  BhutanHydropowerEnergy
 

April 2015
Bhutan Prime Minister Visits Sri Lanka, Discusses Aviation

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena, accompanied by several Cabinet Ministers, engaged in bilateral talks with the visiting Prime Minister and Bhutanese delegation. Both countries pledged to enhance bilateral cooperation and establish air links between Paro and Colombo.
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Tags:  BhutanSri LankaTransport
 

March 2015
Bhutan High-Level Workshop to Improve National Competitiveness

The Better Business Council High-Level Workshop on Improving National Competitiveness was held in Thimphu, Bhutan on 23 March 2015, providing a platform for Bhutan to learn from the experience of the Republic of Georgia and the Republic of Korea (ROK) how to improve their national business climate and international trade.
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Tags:  BhutanEconomyTrade Facilitation
 

March 2015
Dagachhu Hydropower Project Running at Full Capacity

The 126 megawatt (MW) Dagachhu hydropower plant is now fully commissioned, with the successful run of the second 63MW unit test on 15 March 2015. As a joint venture between Druk Green Power Corporation of Bhutan and the Tata Power Company Limited of India, it has a 25-year power purchase agreement to export power from Bhutan to India. The Asian Development Bank, under the SASEC program, funded its construction through the Green Power Development Project.
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Tags:  BhutanEnergyIndia
 

February 2015
SASEC Transport Project Improving Bhutan-India Connectivity Receives Go Signal

Works to improve road connectivity and facilitate trade between Bhutan and India are set to begin soon along the Phuentsholing-Jaigaon border. An Asian Development Bank-financed project under the South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) program will construct a bypass road from Jaigaon, India to Pasakha in Bhutan and include a mini-dry port in Phuentsholing. A land customs station will also be constructed in Pasakha to monitor the bypass road.
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Tags:  BhutanIndiaTrade FacilitationTransport
 

February 2015
Dagachhu Hydroelectric Project Commissioned

Commissioning of the first unit of the 126 Megawatt (MW) Dagachhu Hydroelectric Project (DHP) officially began at 15:25 on 21 February 2015 with commercial generation of energy from Bhutan to India, coinciding with the 35th birthday of His Majesty the King of Bhutan. Generating capacity during peak season can rise to a maximum of 63 MW.  The Green Power Development Project under the SASEC program funded its construction.
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Tags:  BhutanHydropowerEnergy
 

February 2015
Motor Vehicles Deal Underway for Seamless Transport through BBIN Subregion

An agreement that will enable seamless transit of  passenger and goods along designated key routes in the Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal (BBIN) subregion is in the pipeline. It will reduce costly and time-consuming unloading and loading of people and cargo at border crossing points. The agreement would help transform transport corridors linking BBIN into economic corridors and enhance people-to-people contact.
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Tags:  TransportBangladeshBhutanIndiaNepal
 

January 2015
Hydropower to Propel GDP Growth in Bhutan

The World Bank report “Global Economic Prospects: Having Fiscal Space and Using It,” has set Bhutan's economic growth at 7.9% for the current fiscal year—1.1% higher than the Government's target of 6.8%. Propelling growth, according to the report, is completion of Dagachhu hydropower project. It also estimated growth in South Asia rebounded to an estimated 5.5% in 2014.
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Tags:  BhutanGDPEnergyHydropower
 

January 2015
Bhutan Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay Invites Green, Sustainable Investments in Bhutan

Prime Minister of Bhutan Tshering Tobgay told investors at the 7th Vibrant Gujarat Summit that Bhutan is open to clean, green and sustainable business proposals, including investments in renewable energy and hydropower. He also emphasized that Bhutan gives more value to gross national happiness, and extended an invitation among those interested in doing value-based business to invest in Bhutan.
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Tags:  BhutanFDIHydropowerEnergy
 

December 2014
ADB to Finance Bhutan's Second Green Power Development Project through PPP

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) approved financing support to develop the Nikachhu hydropower plant—a run-of-the-river hydropower plant—in central Bhutan totaling $120.5 million in a package of loans and grants, through a public-private partnership. Power generated through the project will boost renewable energy generation in Bhutan, and further expand cross-border power trading in the region.
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Tags:  BhutanEnergyHydropowerLoan
 

December 2014
Bhutan Trucks May Now Enter Bangladesh

Bhutanese trucks carrying import/export cargo are now able to enter Bangladesh via India, according to Bangladesh Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed during a visit to Bhutanese Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay on 7 December 2014. The new agreement will allow trucks to carry products directly from Bangladesh for import to Bhutan.
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Tags:  BhutanBangladeshTransportTrade Facilitation
 

December 2014
Bilateral Talks Between Bangladesh and Bhutan

Bhutan’s Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay has agreed with Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to close trade gaps by exporting more goods and expanding the list of products free of tax and duty enjoyed by both countries. Bhutan’s total trade volume with Bangladesh is worth about US$ 25.6 million. Bangladesh is the only country in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation region in which Bhutan has a trade surplus.
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Tags:  BangladeshBhutanBilateral Trade
 

October 2014
RKC Sensitization Workshops in Bhutan

The Department of Revenue and Customs have led a series of two-day Sensitization Workshops on the Revised Kyoto Convention (RKC) in Bhutan during 6-22 October 2014 to brief Customs officials on the key principles of the RKC. Bhutan formally became the 96th contracting party to the RKC – the World Customs Organization international standard for an efficient and effective Customs regulatory procedure – on 15 September 2014.
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Tags:  BhutanRKCCustoms
 

October 2014
Growing Demand for Electricity among Rural Households in Bhutan

The Royal Government of Bhutan's target to bring “Electricity for All” is picking up pace. The rural electrification project, which began in 2013 with the initial goal of bringing electricity to 40,257 households, had already connected 40,300 households to the national power grid by August 2014. In response to popular demand, the Government has now set a deadline for every home in Bhutan to receive electricity supply by end 2014. 
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Tags:  BhutanEnergyADB
 

September 2014
Bhutan’s Accession to the Revised Kyoto Convention

The Kingdom of Bhutan acceded to the International Convention on the Simplification and Harmonization of Customs Procedures (Revised Kyoto Convention [RKC]) on 15 September 2014. It is the ninety-sixth contracting party to the RKC. Bhutan's accession will enter into full force on 15 December 2014.
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Tags:  BhutanCustomsWCO
 

September 2014
Bhutan Prime Minister Extends Gratitude to ADB for 3 Decades of Partnership

Bhutan’s Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay visited the Asian Development Bank (ADB) on 5 September 2014 to thank the organization for contributing to Bhutan’s development throughout its 30-year partnership. He spoke to the Board of Directors, ADB staff, and the Bhutanese community as part of ADB’s Eminent Speaker Forum, “Bhutan’s Economic Vision: Prosperity for All” and launched the book, “20th by 2020: Bhutan Drive for Improved Governance”.
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Tags:  BhutanTransportEnergy
 

September 2014
80-Vehicle Trial Run of ESCAP Secure Cross-border Transport Model along Bhutan-India Transit Corridor

In follow-up to the limited pilot run of United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific's Secure Cross-border Transport Model, officials from India and Bhutan Customs administrations participated in trial runs of 80 vehicles along the Kolkata-Jaigon-Phuentsholing transit corridor between Bhutan and India on 1—5 September 2014.
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Tags:  Trade FacilitationIndiaBhutanTransport
 

August 2014
ADB to Continue Promoting Green and Inclusive Growth in Bhutan

Bhutan Prime Minister Mr. Tshering Tobgay and Ms. Lakshmi Venkatachalam, Asian Development Bank (ADB) Vice-President (VP) for Private Sector and Cofinancing Operations, discussed new prospects for mutually inclusive growth, including renewable energy, at a meeting in Thimphu, Bhutan on 21 August 2014. VP Venkatachalam assured Prime Minister Tobgay of ADB's continued support to Bhutan.
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Tags:  BhutanEnergySustainability
 

August 2014
New Indian Ambassador to Bhutan Visits First Joint Hydropower Project

Mr. Gautam Bambawale, recently appointed Ambassador of India to Bhutan, visited Chhukha Hydropower Plant-the first joint project between India and Bhutan-during his first two weeks in office. Power trade between Bhutan and India is one of the many areas of cooperation between the two countries.
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Tags:  BhutanEnergyIndia
 

July 2014
SASEC Road Connectivity Project Boosts Bhutan's Trade Competitiveness

The Asian Development Bank approved just over $50 million for Bhutan’s South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation Road Connectivity Project on 31 July 2014. The project will increase Bhutan's trade competitiveness by improving cross-border movement of people, goods, and business through construction and upgrading of the national highway network, and creating essential trade and trade facilitation infrastructure.
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Tags:  TradeBhutanTransport
 

July 2014
Railway Link to India’s Border by 2020

China initially opened the railway to Tibet’s capital, Lhasa, in 2006 as part of its national plan to boost development. The railway is envisioned to be linked to Rasuwagadhi, Nepal through the Shigatse-Kerung stretch. Rasuwagadhi is about 500 kilometers from Shigatse. There are plans to extend the railway linking Tibet with the rest of the country during 2016-2020 to two separate points on the border of Nepal and on the border of India and Bhutan.
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Tags:  IndiaNepalBhutanTransport
 

July 2014
New ADB-Bhutan Country Partnership Strategy Approved

ADB Board of Directors approved Bhutan’s Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) 2014-2018 to support the country's 11th Five-Year Plan (2013-2018) that focuses on self-reliance and inclusive, green socioeconomic development. Bhutan seeks a more inclusive strategy to broaden its economic base. The new CPS reflects ADB's three strategic pillars of inclusive growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional cooperation and integration.
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Tags:  BhutanEconomyEnergy
 

February 2014
Launch of $1.5 million Japan fund for Poverty Reduction Technical Assistance in Bhutan for Trade Facilitation

Mr. Nim Dorji, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Finance represented the Royal Government of Bhutan at the official launch of activities under a $1.5 million technical assistance project financed by the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction (JFPR). The capacity development technical assistance will support trade facilitation initiatives carried out under the South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) Trade Facilitation Program.
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Tags:  BhutanTrade FacilitationTechnical Assistance
 

November 2012
ADB Assisting South Asia to Reduce Trade Barriers

ADB is providing $48 million to help goods move more smoothly in and out of Bangladesh Bhutan and Nepal.
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Tags:  ADBBangladeshBhutanCustomsNepalSASECSouth AsiaTradeTrade Facilitation
 

November 2012
SASEC Holds National Workshop on Revised Kyoto Convention

ADB's South Asia Regional Cooperation Divison and the World Customs Organization organized a workshop held in Thimpu Bhutan from 26-28 November to help prepare Bhutans accession to the Revised Kyoto Convention.
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Tags:  BhutanCustomsEnvironmentSASECSouth AsiaSustainabilityTradeTrade Facilitation
 

November 2012
SASEC Energy Officials Endorse Feasibility Studies for Transmission Investments

The SASEC energy working group agreed to conduct feasibility studies for three new priority large-scale cross-border transmission projects worth over $3 billion at a meeting on 9 November 2012 in Thimphu Bhutan.
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Tags:  BhutanEnergyInvestmentSASECSouth Asia
 

November 2012
SASEC Trade Facilitation and Transport Working Group Reviews $4 Billion Portfolio

Trade facilitation and transport officials of SASEC countries reviewed planned priority sub-regional projects totaling over $4 billion over the next three years.
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Tags:  BhutanSASECTrade FacilitationTransport
 

June 2012
SAARC Statistical Workshop

SAARC Secretariat to conduct a study for the development of a web-based user-protected interface and the institution of a designated Statistics Cell.
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Tags:  BhutanEconomic cooperationRegional CooperationRegional IntegrationSAARC
 

June 2012
SAARC Working Group on Reduction in the Sensitive Lists under SAFTA Phase III

The SAARC Working Group noted that under Phase II all member states had already reduced their respective Sensitive Lists by a minimum of 20%. Bhutan India and Maldives had made substantial reductions in their lists which in fact were significantly more than the previously mandated reduction level.
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Tags:  BhutanFree Trade AgreementIndiaMaldivesSAARCSAFTASouth AsiaTrade
 

April 2012
SASEC Countries Sign Bilateral Interconnection Agreements

During the Bilateral Interconnection Agreement Meeting held on 25-27 April 2012 in Manila major telecommunication providers from SASEC countries signed agreements for the direct peering and exchange of internet traffic through high speed fiber-optic links to be built under the Information Highway.
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Tags:  ADBBangladeshBhutanICTNepalRegional Integration