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Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation - BIMSTEC
BIMSTEC is a sub-regional economic cooperation grouping formed in Bangkok in June 1997. Myanmar joined the group in December 1997, Bhutan and Nepal joined in February 2004.
The countries like India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal & Sri Lanka from SAARC, Thailand and Myanmar from ASEAN are its members. Thus, it is the ‘bridging link' between ASEAN and SAARC.
The Chairman of BIMSTEC will be from the member countries in alphabetical order. Grouping is integration of its activities and making it attractive for economic cooperation.
BIMSTEC’s first summit was held in Bangkok on July 31, 2004.
Initially, cooperation was proposed into 6 sectors but, the areas of cooperation were expanded to 13 sectors and each sector will be led by members in a voluntary manner. These include:-
Trade & Investment (Bangladesh)
Technology (Sri Lanka)
Transport & Communication (India)
Cultural Co-operation (Bhutan)
Environment and Disaster Management (India)
Public Health (Thailand)
People-to-People Contact (Thailand)
Poverty Alleviation (Nepal)
Counter-Terrorism and Transnational Crimes (India)
BIMSTEC member countries established the BIMSTEC Free Trade Area Framework Agreement to stimulate trade and investment in the parties, and attract outsiders to trade with and invest in BIMSTEC at a higher level and the agreement was signed on 8th February, 2004 in Phuket, Thailand.
The Framework Agreement includes provisions for negotiations on FTA in goods, services and investment. A Trade Negotiating Committee (TNC) has been constituted to carry forward the programme of negotiations on trade in goods and services, investment, economic cooperation, as well as trade facilitations and also technical assistance for LDCs in BIMSTEC.