Minutes of the First Meeting of the Joint Study Group
of Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Economic Corridor (BCIM EC)
On 18-19 Dec. 2013, the First Joint Study Group (JSG) Meetingof Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Economic Corridor (hereafter referred to as “the Corridor” or BCIM-EC) was held in Kunming, China.Members of the JSG and representatives from relevant government Ministries/Departments,research institutions and enterprises attended the meeting. The meeting washeld in a friendly and an interactive environment. The successful convening ofthe 1st JSG Meeting of BCIM-EC marked the official launch of theintergovernmental process of BCIM-EC.
2. All delegations agreed that thefour delegations are located in the same neighborhood and share commonalitiesin terms of history and culture. The four delegations are committedto economic and social development and poverty alleviation. The development ofthe Corridor would play a significant role in strengthening cooperation amongand within the BCIM delegations to achieve respective development objectives.
3. The four delegations agreed on theprinciples of mutual trust and respect, mutual interest, equitable sharing ofmutual benefits, pragmatism, effectiveness, consensus-building and securingwin-win outcomes. Based on these, the four delegations jointly initiated thedevelopment of the BCIM Economic Corridor which will, inter alia, advancemulti-modal connectivity, harness the economic complementarities, promoteinvestment and trade and facilitate people-to-people contacts. These wouldenhance mutual understanding and trust and further unlock vast economicpotential, and secure lasting peace, stability and prosperity for the people inthese delegations and in the region.
4. In the meeting, discussions wereconducted with focus on the summary of the previous research outcomes andexperience of the previous achievements, lessons learnt from beyond the regionin areas of mechanism-building for joint studies. Delegates from the BCIM delegationswitnessed the signing of the Minutes of the meeting and the Program of theJoint Study Group. The following are the highlights of the discussions:
A. Summary of the previous studies andachievements on the BCIM regional cooperation:
The four delegations jointly summarizedprevious studies and achievements on BCIM Regional Forum since 1999. The four delegations agreed that,under the Forum, fruitful and effective discussions had been conducted and aseries of important consensus had been reached in promoting connectivity,economic and trade cooperation and people-to-people contacts, which have laid asolid foundation for the development of BCIM Economic Corridor.
B. Learning from best practices of multilateraland regional cooperation mechanisms
Representativesfrom international organizations – ADB and UNESCAP - presented experiences onmultilateral cooperation mechanisms relevant to this region, such as theGreater Mekong Sub-regional economic cooperation mechanism (GMS). All delegationsagreed that in the development of the BCIM Economic Corridor, the delegationsshould fully learn from the best practices of other regional cooperationmechanisms, so as to establish a regional cooperative mechanism.
C. Conceptualization and Cooperation Areas of BCIM Economic Corridor
Afterpreliminary discussions, all delegations agreed that the proposed Corridorcould run from Kunming (China) in the east to Kolkata (India) in the west, broadly spanning the region,including Mandalay (Myanmar),Dhaka and Chittagong (Bangladesh) and other major citiesand ports as key nodes. With the linkages of transport, energy andtelecommunication networks, the Corridor will form a thriving economic beltthat will promote common development of areas along the Corridor.
Cooperativeundertakings may include, but not limited to, the following areas:
(i) Physicalconnectivity: Improve infrastructure building andestablish appropriate legal and regulatory framework for development ofmulti-modal transport (road, rail, waterways, airways) by developing andaccelerating transportation inter-connectivity. At the same time, collaborationwould need to be augmented in energy and power sectors to tap substantialopportunities. Development of tele-communication networking would also need tobe addressed.
(ii)Trade in goods, services and investment, including finance: Promote greater participation of public and private sector towards facilitatingintra-regional investments. This would also include trade-facilitation measuresfor flow of goods and services along the Corridor to a significant scale.
(iii)Environmentally sustainable development: Actively advancecooperation in agriculture and environmental industries to create a basis forsustainable development and livelihoods for the benefit of the people andreduce poverty along the Corridor. Also, water resources may be conserved,developed and tapped beneficially. Initiatives may also be undertaken to tackleclimate change challenges facing the Corridor.
(iv)People-to-people contacts: Enhance exchanges and cooperation inareas, such as education, science and technology, culture, healthcare, sportsas well as human resource development. Further, infrastructure facilities maybe strengthened and the tourism potential of the region be explored to create aBCIM tourism circle.
Alldelegations discussed and agreed to explore the possibilities of initiatingearly-harvest projects in the identified priority areas in order to demonstratebeneficial impacts and build confidence in the success of the Corridor.
4. Mechanism building for BCIM Economic Corridor
All delegations agreed to establish, at a senior-official level, a Joint WorkingGroup (JWG) to actively explore the possibility of improving the workingmechanism at the earliest date.
5. Joint Study on BCIM Economic Corridor
All delegations agreed to the “Joint Study Program of Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Economic Corridor”. The Program of the JSG is annexed to the Minutes.
The Minutes was agreed and signed by the heads of the delegations of Bangladesh, China,India and Myanmar, on the 19th day of December2013, in Kunming, Yunnan Province, China.
Delegation of Bangladesh
Delegation of China
Delegation of India
Delegation of Myanmar
Joint Study Program of Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Economic Corridor
I. Objectives of joint study
The joint study aims to arrive at a consensus report on the way forward for the proposed Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Economic Corridor (BCIM-EC). The joint studygroup report with recommendations on inter-governmental cooperation shall bepresented to the respective governments for their consideration/ collective decision.
II. Organization and modality of joint study
Based on the guiding principles ofmutual trust and respect, mutual interest, pragmatism, equitable sharing of mutual benefits and consensus building, the four countries have constituted ajoint study group with experts drawn from various fields.
In the course of its study, the joint study group may, inter alia, assess earlier work done within and beyond the region, consult and seek views, conduct field studies, hold workshops and sitevisits, carry out research and assessments and also co-opt subject or field experts and officials, as and when required, and to the extent possible.
Each of the four countries after mutual consultation and agreement may undertake relevant studies/research on all or a select few of the themes.
III. Outline of joint study
Part I Overview
Chapter 1 Objectives of BCIM economiccorridor
Chapter 2 Concept, scope, and elements of BCIM Economic Corridor
Chapter 3 Principles and modalities ofcooperation
Part II Areas and Priorities
Chapter 5 Energy
Chapter 6 Investment and financing
Chapter 7 Trade in goods and services, and trade facilitation
Chapter8 Social and human development and poverty alleviation
Chapter 9 Sustainable development
Chapter 10 People-to people contact
Part III Institutional Arrangement
Chapter 11 Framework of cooperation
Chapter 12 Summary and recommendations
Subject to the approval of respective governments, eachcountry will be responsible for expenses related to research, field studies,workshops carried out by their experts and consultants. Organizational expensesfor hosting the joint study group meeting will be met by the host country. Thehost country may seek necessary assistance from other sources for this purpose,if required.
V. Schedule of work
1. December 2013: decideon the primary framework and work distribution; and submit to respectiveGovernments
2. End-January2014: Mutually agreed outline of on all chapters of the study is circulated
3. End-June 2014: Draftcountry reports are completed and the 2nd JSG meeting is convened inBangladesh to arrive at an agreement on synthesizing the report.
4. End-July 2014: Synthesisof different chapters are completed based on the division of work
5. End-September 2014: Final consolidated synthesis report is completed and submitted to respectivegovernments for their consideration.
6. End-December 2014 (preferably): 3rd JSG meeting to take place in India wherein thefinal report will be adopted and signing of the inter-governmental cooperationframework will take place.
VI. Focal Points of contact