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Indian Ocean Rim Nations to Boost Cooperation on SEZs
Jun 10, 2016

India and several other nations bordering the Indian Ocean have decided to evolve a regional mechanism for cooperation on Special Economic Zones (SEZ) to boost exports. The first-of-its-kind meeting between SEZ authorities from these Indian Ocean Rim (IOR) nations was held recently at Chabahar, Iran, which houses a Free Trade Zone (FTZ).

Points Discussed in the Meeting

  • The meeting comes at a time of global economic and trade slowdown and attempts are being made by countries to boost growth through trade.
     
  • Due to their strategic locations and access to major waterways, these zones have formed a virtual network of trade connections spanning continents including Asia, Australia and Africa.
     
  • Participants at the Chabahar meet also considered a proposal to form a Joint FTZ among the IOR Association (IORA) member countries since most of these FTZs are situated or are being built in coastal regions. 
     
  • The meeting also assumes importance given that India had signed a pact with Iran to develop the Chabahar port, and agreed to provide $500 million for the purpose.

What is Indian Ocean Rim Association? 

Indian Ocean Rim Association

On 29-31 March 1995, the Mauritius Government convened a meeting to discuss the enhancement of economic co-operation among the countries of the Indian Ocean Rim. Representatives of governments, academia and businesses from Australia, India, Kenya, Mauritius, Oman, Singapore and South Africa known as the Core Group States or the M-7—attended the meeting. 

In a joint statement, the participants declared that they had agreed on "principles of open regionalism and inclusivity of membership, with the objectives of trade liberalization and promoting trade co-operation. Activities would focus on trade facilitation, investment promotion and economic co-operation." 

IORA was formally launched at the first Ministerial Meeting in Mauritius on 6-7 March 1997. This meeting adopted the IORA Charter, and determined the administrative and procedural framework within which the organisation would develop.

Members of Indian Ocean RIM Association
 

  • Australia, Bangladesh, Comoros, India, Indonesia, Seychells, Iran, Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mozambique, Oman, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, UAE, Yemen & Somalia. 
     
  • China, France, Japan, USA, Egypt, Germay & UK are Dialouge Partners.

Objectives of the Association

  • To promote the sustained growth and balanced development of the region and of the Member States, and to create common ground for regional economic co-operation.
     
  • To focus on those areas of economic co-operation which provide maximum opportunities to develop shared interests and reap mutual benefits.
     
  • To explore all possibilities and avenues for trade liberalisation, to remove impediments to, and lower barriers towards, freer and enhanced flow of goods, services, investment, and technology within the region.
     
  • To encourage close interaction of trade and industry, academic institutions, scholars and the peoples of the Member States without any discrimination among Member States and without prejudice to obligations under other regional economic and trade co-operation arrangements.
     
  • To strengthen co-operation and dialogue among Member States in international fora on global economic issues, and where desirable to develop shared strategies and take common positions in the international fora on issues of mutual interest; and
     
  • To promote co-operation in development of human resources, particularly through closer linkages among training institutions, universities and other specialised institutions of the Member States.

 


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