Foreign secretaries to decide on future of BIMSTEC
Sheikh Shahariar Zaman

Foreign secretaries of BIMSTEC member countries will meet in Nepal in April to discuss on the future direction of the regional organisation.

The commerce secretaries of the regional body, just prior to FS level talks, will sit together to discuss about proposed BIMSTEC free-trade agreement.

The decisions were taken at a retreat in Dhaka on Tuesday where representatives all the seven countries took part with Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque in the chair.

Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Thailand and Sri Lanka are the members of BIMSTEC.

A senior official of the foreign ministry said the commerce secretaries would discuss about future of the FTA and the possibilities of deepening economic integration.

The meeting recommended that the BIMSTEC secretariat can request UNESCAP to prepare a concept paper on the feasibility of the regional organisation within a month, he said,

The report would be distributed among the members states before the commerce secretary level talks, he added.

Bangladesh has proposed to undertake some projects for trade facilitation and liberalising visa regime like introduction of BIMSTEC business visa.

The official said India agreed to share a paper on future direction of BIMSTEC with the member states and it would be discussed at the FS level talks.

New Delhi also proposed to consider Sustainability Development Goals 2030 while making vision for BIMSTEC 2030, he added.

Sri Lanka proposed to have five to seven years medium term vision for the organisation.

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