Trade and Connectivity in the BIMSTEC Region: Questions of ‘Incremental Benefits’ for the Member Countries
This chapter analyses the structure of bilateral trade of Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) countries under different trade agreements and examines the implications of existing condition of cross-border connectivity within the region with a view to identify the potentials of incremental trade of BIMSTEC countries under the BIMSTEC free trade area (FTA). Based on the analysis, it puts forward suggestions on how BIMSTEC countries should negotiate on FTA, trade facilitation and other trade related agreements with a view to ensure incremental benefits for member countries in case of trade and investment. Trade and investment in the BIMSTEC region is directly related to member countries’ level of development. The BIMSTEC Secretariat needs to be empowered to play a more proactive role in promoting the BIMSTEC agenda, which is all the more essential in the absence of a Charter for BIMSTEC.