SASEC countries look to generate 20 m jobs

SASEC countries look to generate 20 m jobs
Finance Ministers of India and six other South Asian countries on Monday vowed to come together to boost trade and tourism and generate $70 billion in goods and services and 20 million jobs by 2025.

“We envision SASEC (South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation) to be powering Asia in the 21st century. We will accelerate and sustain the growth momentum of recent years by unlocking the hitherto untapped potential of the subregion’s natural resources, industry and infrastructure through subregional cooperation,” said a joint statement issued after a meeting of finance ministers.

“We will leverage natural resource-based industries by tapping into latent industrial demand within the subregion. We will promote subregional industry-to-industry links to develop regional value chains and enhance the subregion’s competitiveness,” the statement added.

Finance ministers of seven-member SASEC grouping India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Myanmar met here on Monday seeking to reshape the economic contours of these countries.

They pledged to enhance connectivity within countries and between countries to improve the productivity of economic activities, including trade and tourism taking advantage of their common heritage and cultural ties. “We believe that these synergies can generate annually, an estimated $70 billion in incremental GDP and 20 million in incremental aggregate employment by 2025,” the statement said. Addressing the meeting, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said India’s Act East policy will help in improving connectivity and relationship with South-East and East Asian countries.

“India is following a policy of Act East to improve connectivity and relations with countries of South-East Asia and East Asia. Improved access to gateway ports, particularly in Bangladesh and Myanmar, may help unleash the latent potential of agro and forest-based industries in India’s North East region,” he said.

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