Local SMEs urged to forge ties with India's Asean gateway, its northeast states
By FocusM |   |  Enterprise, Featured, Mainstream

KUALA LUMPUR: Local SMEs should consider investing in the agricultural, tourism and services sectors in India’s northeastern states as Malaysia is gradually reopening its economy in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, says the co-chairman of the Asean-India Business Council (AIBC) Datuk Ramesh Kodammal.

He said this is because Northeast India is being developed as a gateway to Asean, which will see growing connectivity taking place between the republic and the 10-member bloc in years to come.

“Northeast India is something special to us as it shares an international border with Myanmar, and perhaps Malaysian SMEs seeking to become globally competitive should leverage on this by investing in agricultural products.

“Assam, being one of the Indian northeastern state, is rich in bamboo, and Malaysian SMEs could perhaps tap the potential of the commodity,” he said during a webinar on India-Asean business opportunities and challenges’ recently.

Ramesh suggested the setting up of a special council in the northeastern states to facilitate business linkages besides having a one-stop centre to handle trade and business queries.

“With a combined population of 1.9 billion people (India and Asean), and existence of bilateral trade agreements such as the Asean-India Free Trade Agreement (AIFTA) and Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), opportunities in Asean and India abound for our business entities,” he noted.

He also said India’s northeastern states – Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura – which make up 8% of the country's geographical area, has progressed in the services and tourism sectors.

Ramesh, who welcomed Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's stimulus package worth 20 tril rupees (RM1.148 tril) for the coronavirus-battered economy, said the SMEs could start looking for possible tie-ups in the country as it will start easing some restrictions on businesses and people's movement soon. - June 1, 2020, Bernama

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