BIMSTEC hopes a name change will bring down trade barriers

BIMST-EC, the seven-member regional grouping which Sri Lanka is a member, has renamed itself as the ‘Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sector Technical and Economic Cooperation.’ BIMST-EC, the seven-member regional grouping which Sri Lanka is a member, has renamed itself as the ‘Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sector Technical and Economic Cooperation.’ BIMST-EC was earlier known as Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand Economic Cooperation. The change over cropped up after Nepal and Bangladesh were included as members.

In a bid to boost trade and investment in the region, Sri Lanka and six other Asian countries Saturday decided to take steps for timely completion of the Free Trade Area negotiations apart from introducing a special BIMSTEC visa.

At the first summit of BIMSTEC, members signed a joint declaration, committing themselves to give a fillip to regional economic cooperation by a slew of measures, including development of infrastructure.

BIMSTEC members decided to facilitate travel within the region for businesses, exchange programmes and tourism through a business travel card or visa.

As per the declaration adopted by the seven nations,