‘To achieve a higher intra-regional trade in the Bay of Bengal region, the countries should put efforts to reduce trade cost, identify new sectors and products, and link industrial clusters for sourcing of products and services while improving the transport connectivity both land and maritime routes.”
This was the statement conveyed by Mr. Madhurjya K. Dutta, Director of Trade and Investment Facilitation Department (TIF), and Coordinator of the Mekong-Korea Cooperation Fund (MKCF), Mekong Institute (MI), as one of the speakers at the “Fostering Regional Development in the Bay of Bengal region through Trade and Investment,’ session as part of the 'International Conference on Security and Prosperity in the Bay of Bengal' on November 29 to December 1. The conference was organized by the Centre for Public Policy Research (CPPR), Kochi, with the support of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation (FNF). Key discussions focused on conventional and non-conventional security challenges, including Energy Security, Trade and Investment, Technology and Innovation, Blue Economy, Climate Change, and Human Security, among other topics.
Home to around 20% of the world population with a combined GDP of 2.7 trillion USD, the region also hosts vast reserves of natural resources which present huge opportunities for connectivity and investment.
The two-day event was attended by diplomats, government officials, academicians, commentators, industry and security experts, and journalists.
Mr. Dutta took the opportunity of the event to hold separate meetings with Mr. Frank Holfmann, Regional Project Manager and Mr. Jeroen Dobber, European Affairs Manager of FNF to discuss possible collaboration with MI on emerging issues in the Mekong region. The FNF team was positive about exploring prospective engagement with MI and Mr. Frank will initiate the process by introducing it to their regional office in Bangkok for further discussion.
As a follow-up to the event, the conference paper will be finalized and submitted to the Centre for Public Policy Research (CPPR) for publication by CPPR.