Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Mega Sikkim bazaar in Thailand

Mega northeast bazaar in Thailand to woo investors

Guwahati, Aug 21 (IANS) India will showcase its business potential in its northeastern states during a four-day mega bazaar in Thailand in October, part of a major campaign to open the region to investors in Southeast Asia.
The central ministry of the Department of North Eastern Region (DoNER) in collaboration with the Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC) is organising the North-East Investment Week in Bangkok from Oct 1 to 4. "The idea is to sell the northeast overseas, mainly to investors in Southeast Asia. The Investment Week will give an opportunity to prospective investors about the potential we have in the region for doing business," Assam Industries and Commerce Minister Pradyut Bordoloi told IANS. Trade delegations from across the eight northeastern states, including Sikkim, would participate in the Bangkok exposition. Sectors like power, tourism, inland waterways, processed food, horticulture, rubber, IT and telecom, handloom and handicrafts besides bamboo will be the focus areas. "We shall explain to investors about the prospects of business in certain viable sectors in the northeast," the minister said. The trade fair, involving the northeast in Bangkok, was mooted by Thailand's Commerce Minister Krirk-Krai Jirapaet during a visit to the region in June along with a team of top Thai business people. The prime ministers of the two countries later endorsed the proposal. Thailand is the first ASEAN (Association of South-East Asian Nations) country that has shown interest in starting trade and investment in the northeast. The visit to the northeast by the Thai business team led by Jirapaet came after government heads at the SAARC summit emphasised the need to increase trade and investment between the region and Southeast Asian countries. "We are flooded with queries from both Indian and overseas players willing to invest in the state, including some big names," Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said. Most business groups and individual investors were interested in setting up hotels, cement factories, hospitals, tourism infrastructure, and even educational institutions. "We have queries from Thailand with one group interested in operating an airline and promoting tourism," the chief minister said. "We are ready to make things easy for investors as far as processing is concerned. If somebody gets mired in bureaucratic red tape, they could approach me directly." Meanwhile, four top Indian corporate honchos were expected to invest a whopping Rs.300 billion in the development of rural infrastructure, promoting agriculture and setting up power plants, IT parks, and bio-diesel facilities. "All these companies have agreed in principle to invest in Assam either independently or in partnership with the state government," Gogoi said. "I have assured all the company heads that we shall provide all security and other help without fail