BIMSTEC: Building Bridges, Promoting Connectivity
Connectivity, in trade parlance, encompasses the concepts of transport and trade facilitation. Despite the growth of South and Southeast Asia, and their geographical proximity, the trade relationship is limited and intra-Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) trade remains low. BIMSTEC can support in establishing an effective Asian institutional architecture. Roads are the predominant mode for domestic transport and distribution in the BIMSTEC countries. Ports handle major proportion of intra-BIMSTEC trade, and trade by road is relatively small. Myanmar is critical in the context of the development of road connections between South and Southeast Asia to create the BIMSTEC land-bridge. Maritime transport plays an important role in trade in all BIMSTEC countries and carries the majority of each country’s international trade. The aviation sector has been the most dynamic transport mode in the BIMSTEC region, given the high growth rate in the passenger sector, responsiveness of the airlines, and increased market penetration by the low-cost carriers.