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Expanding exports becomes a priority to balance trade
15
May '08
Widening trade deficit of Bhutan is arousing concerns for the Government propelling the trade department to explore opportunities for building trade relations with US and EU countries.

South Asia and India are the core regions for Bhutanese exports with the latter recognized as the largest trading partner.

Bhutan's trade with India accounts for nearly 73 percent of the total trade volume. Besides, although, transaction outside South Asia has been as low as 10 percent but for the past two years it has been developing to reach 24 percent.

Registering a negative balance of trade for the past so many years is making it difficult to sustain the domestic manufacturing industries. The only viable solution is to develop exports in order to maintain trade equilibrium.

Trade officials have observed an export potential in areas of handicraft, textiles and agriculture among others and efforts are therefore being made to improve production in these areas and to find suitable market for their exports.

US is eyed as the most obvious market for Bhutanese products since it is the largest buying country. California in particular has a huge organic market which can be exploited by Bhutan in favor of increasing its trade.

Even now, the marketing section of agriculture ministry is exploring demands and specific products that could be produced and exported. However, according to experts, the main problem faced while exporting to third world countries was that of volume and continuity of production to meet international standards.

Another major obstacle in exports is the high costs of transportation and tariff, and an assurance that the products reach thier destinations safely.

Nonetheless, the trade department in collaboration with the EI Camino College, center for international trade and business training center is presently seeking ways to motivate and increase the capacity of exporters to develop competitive products.

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