EU-Bhutan Trade Support Project Launched To Promote Brand Bhutan
Since 1982, the EU and Bhutan has worked together in various development projects.
By Tshering Dorji | Kuensel
The European Union (EU) provided a fund of 4 million euros on 24 May to diversify the country’s export and to promote Brand Bhutan.
Since 1982, the EU and Bhutan has worked together in various development projects targeted to reduce poverty, enhance food security and to strengthen the democratisation process.
Aims of the EU-Bhutan Trade Support Project
The EU-Bhutan Trade Support Project will span a period of 40 months and will be managed by the International Trade Centre (ITC) in collaboration with the government of Bhutan.
This project is expected to increase the country’s exports by developing a value chain on selected products of horticulture and textile handicrafts.
It will also develop efficient market linkages as well as a trade and investment regulatory framework.
The EU Ambassador, Tomasz Kozlowski said that the project was designed in consultation with the Bhutanese government, the private sector and the civil society organisation.
He said that the EU provides budgetary support without dictating any terms and conditions because Bhutan has already got well-established economic and social development policies in place.
“We have a strong conviction that the Bhutanese government knows better how to spend the fund. It is a reflection of our trust and confidence,” he said.
Irrespective of Bhutan’s LDC graduation status, he said that the EU would provide assistance and support to Bhutan.
As the country experiences economic transformation over time, Tomasz Kozlowski said that new instruments and new ways of collaboration must be explored as priorities change.
More engagement in various spheres between the EU and Bhutan
“The area of cooperation in science and technology has potential and scope in future,” he said.
He also added that other trade support programmes and investments could be explored with the European Investment Bank (EIU).
Moreover, the EU can accommodate more Bhutanese students to pursue higher education in European countries through programmes such as the Erasmus plus and Marie Curie Schemes, where fellowships are offered in research works.
The EU sanctioned a fund of 16.5m euros for rural development and climate change programmes. Another Euro 20m euros was also granted for the development of local government and fiscal decentralisation programs.
The Counsellor of political affairs, Thibault Devenlay said that technology transfer and capacity development in the field of renewable energy could be accommodated under the climate change programmes.
Between 2014 and 2022, the EU has committed an assistance of 52m euros for Bhutan. One of the EU delegates said that it is time for the country to come up with programmes and identify areas where budgetary support is required.
“Bilateral relations between the EU and Bhutan is beyond the development agenda,” the ambassador said, adding that political cooperation and ties are at its best.